Not All Questions are Created Equal: The Miss USA Story

This year I watched the Miss USA Pageant because last year when I didn’t, one of those 16 finalists became my new manager at Teach For America.  Now Brittany’s a pretty awesome and positive person (you can read her fresh blog here), so I was a little more open-minded and invested in this year’s telecast.  I still am not sure how they judge the swimsuit and evening wear events, especially because they insist on judging the girl instead of her outfit.  They all look to have the same exact level of poise and confidence (maybe an infinitesimal difference?) to me.  But the final question section?  That you can judge a lot easier.

Brittany made a comment, which I completely agree with, that the questions aren’t made equal.  They were about sugary drinks, women in movies and TV, Toddlers and Tiaras, Miss USA contestants failure to know the Vice President, and…. is it fair to have a transgender contestant win the Miss USA Pageant.  Seriously?  I felt bad for Miss Rhode Island getting a much harder question, but it ended up working in her favor when she gave a stellar answer and won the Miss USA title later that night.  I was really worried she was going to say it wasn’t fair, but was glad when she said it is fair and still addressed that she could understand why people would be apprehensive about it, too.

I think the worst answer of the night came from Miss Ohio (who looked great in yellow BTW).  This is mainly because she was asked the question I wanted to answer the most- if women are portrayed in an accurate and positive way in movies and television and to give an example.  Of all things, she went with Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman and defended it with “she was going through a rough time but she came out on top and didn’t let anyone stand in her path.”  What?  This is weak, and doesn’t really explain the actual positive things the character did in the movie.  She could have mentioned that she stood up for herself when others misjudged her (who doesn’t love the shop scene?) or that she didn’t need a man to be strong and independent.  I suppose even those arguments are stretching, though.

Please Note: I am not one of the many people bothered by her saying a prostitute is a strong role model (see here), but instead just feel her answer was kind of lacking.

As soon as I heard that question, I thought of two women.  The first one that came to mind, I’m not sure why, was Gloria from Modern Family.  I feel she is portrayed well because she is very girly and likes to have a strong man in her life, but she is also a woman who puts family first above anything else and would defend them (and herself) with a fiery rage if needed.  The second woman I thought of was Buffy, who was a great role model to me growing up.  She was a girl hero (for once!), someone who chose herself over a guy, and was consistently a devoted friend.  There are also a million other examples to work with, but Pretty Woman was definitely not the best choice.  You can even tell in the way she responds that it isn’t very genuine.  I almost wish they were all asked the same question (without hearing other answers) so you could truly compare each of them.

You can watch all the questions and answers in the 5 minute clip below to judge for yourself:

In other Miss USA news…I watched Good Morning America this morning (my mom DVR’d it because One Direction was on- I learned their names today…and now can only remember 2 1/2 of them….) and saw that they were covering the Miss Pennsylvania story (you can view the segment here).  Miss Pennsylvania resigned right after the Miss USA Pageant because she claims another contestant saw that the Top 5 were picked ahead of time.  Donald Trump, the head of the organization, claims that this is COMPLETELY false, and even said his people interviewed the contestant Miss Pennsylvania referred to and she denied seeing anything.  I figured it was possible for it to be rigged ahead of time (maybe based on previous judging), but Trump made one good point- “It doesn’t matter who wins.”  This seems mean, but it’s true.  They are all beautiful girls from all different backgrounds, and choosing one over another won’t have any huge backlash because they all deserve it.

HOWEVER- Donald Trump sounded like a complete ass on the segment as he insisted Miss Pennsylvania was a sore loser and that he saw her for the five seconds she was on stage and didn’t think she deserved to win.  The studio was full of “oooooh”s after this comment, which he repeated later, too.  After this statement, I didn’t really want to side with Trump either.  What a mess.  I know Trump has a ton of money, but he really needs some more class.  Save those snide comments for home- not national television.  He could have easily said “I’m not sure why she would do this, but it’s disappointing,” but to attack her looks and attitude is a douche move that was completely unnecessary.

In the end I must side with Good Morning America, who tried to remain as neutral as possible and get Trump off the phone quickly once the conversation turned ugly.  Good job guys.


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