Every year I tune in to the Trinidad and Tobago Miss Universe pageant. This year I may have even watched it during work. For some reason I wanted to see it so badly that I was willing to risk getting caught by my boss or colleagues. And now I am asking myself the question… why?
This year’s Miss T&T Universe winner has been deemed very intelligent. I don’t know her very well so I can only go on what others are saying. As a result of her more-than-usual intelligence, her win has sparked the question of ‘why would an intelligent, educated woman want to be a part in such an objectifying, simplistic and superficial competition?’ Catherine, the winner, was asked this on Morning Edition as seen in the latter part of this video interview.
She said something along the lines of that she would recommend it to anyone as she has gained a whole lot from being a part of it and has developed as a person. The most striking thing she said was that most of the comments she was getting were on her answer to the interview question on the night of the pageant. Which is stating a fact — that statistics show that people are actually REALLY interested in the brains of these gorgeous women.
Actually, two years ago when I was living in Trinidad I was seriously considering going up for it. And my desire to enter had nothing to do with the fact that I could be idolised and called beautiful by hundreds, but because I thought that it was the duty of beautiful women who are also intelligent to make it very undeniably clear that such a thing exists — an outwardly very attractive, inwardly genuine and intellectually developed woman. I am by no means labelling myself as one, but I did think for a short while that I would really love to give a great answer to a tough question that didn’t end in ‘I want world peace’ — because to be honest a lot of their answers ARE along those lines.
On the flip side, not really being a contender for the crown, the question is — why do so many people watch Miss Universe? As we know such commercial things (because it is a business after all) are sustained by customers, viewers and ticket purchasers! This thing has been sustained for YEARS, and has managed to last through all the phases and progressions in women’s rights.
So why do we watch it?
Many people just want to gawk and scrutinise who is beautiful, who is not, who has a big forehead, who is too skinny, who needs a burger, who needs better hair extensions, who walks like she needs the toilet, who is perfect, who is not, AKA… people LOVE letting go and having that rare opportunity to be 100% superficial. Sadly, their targets are real people and even though they can’t hear through the TV, such criticisms of appearance seep their way into the societal atmosphere, making it a little harder for the chubby girls to breathe.
Many people watch it because they really want their country to win. Some of the smaller countries, like Trinidad, don’t often get to compete on the world stage and this is a sure opportunity to do so. So this competition does do great things in uniting small countries and strengthening national pride — albeit for a very short amount of time. Of course it goes without saying that such a competition also exposes the archaic ways of thinking in countries where people unflappably write racist comments and talk about colour rather than individual strengths. But that is an entire other conversation.
Why do I watch it? I hope there are others that share this desire with me…
I watch it because I want to SEE progress, not just hear about it. As a woman I am inspired MOST by other women (not men). How inspired I am is not at all based on their outward appearance. For instance, Baroness Scotland, who is by no means beautiful in the conventional sense, is one HECK of an amazing woman and I would choose her as my Miss Universe! Actually, I am never inspired by unsubstantiated outward beauty. It is like a gorgeous ring box with no ring inside. What use do I have of that?
Anyway… my point is that I know that this show must go on, as it is so widely supported and watched. So if it must go on then I am crossing all my joints that the top 10 would be flooded with highly-educated, selfless and ambitious women who stand straight not just because they’ve walked with a book on their heads for hours on end, but because they have lived in a world where prejudice, injustice, corruption and real suffering exists and have been privy to some of it but are hopeful for and passionate about change and helping others, especially women.
I watch hoping to see a Miss Universe who is a woman who has an amazing body because she cares about health, exercise and wellbeing not competing against other women for the most hot title. I watch hoping to see a Miss Universe who is a successful entrepreneur who hasn’t had any training on being poised, but knows what it means to have to relate to people and how key others’ respect and trust is in running a business. I watch hoping to see a Miss Universe who is a woman who has defied stereotypes, inspired hundreds and really knows what it is like to fight for something.
The most beautiful thing about women will always be their ability to be gentle, nurturing and intuitive which when paired with
intelligence is a game-changing combination. The Miss Universe pageant is an opportunity for women to display this. And if I get the chance to watch the show in November, that is what I will be looking for. If the unfortunate happens and I don’t see what I am looking for, at least I know that this world is FULL of fantastic and inspiring women of all shapes and sizes, changing the world.
Why do you follow Miss Universe?