Conformity, sexism, and the gender binary

gender binary

Ever wondered why boys are expected to like “boy stuff”, and why girls are expected to wear high heels? Have you also wondered why we think blue is for boys and pink is for girls? The answer involves a certain unwritten rule that has gone unchanged for generations. This is what is referred to as the gender binary, so named because through that mode of thought, society sees gender as a binary concept. The gender binary is the classification of sex and gender into a dichotomy of masculine and feminine. This is how our society, the media, schools, peers, community and culture raise the young boys and girls of the world to see each other, but this is a deeply flawed and outdated rule.

The gender binary, or rather the idea of it, is essentially the reason for a lot of the awful stereotypes we have about boys and girls. From the moment we’re born, society has already begun labelling us based solely on what pair of genitals the doctor sees, and this obviously has enormous ramifications, as society bombards us with gender-based expectations and enforces them. The most obvious way this is done is with toys, clothes, colours and behaviour norms. For example, boys are expected to like fast cars, football, and violence, while girls are expected to like dresses, fashion dolls and anything pink. However, early in childhood, it can take on a more sinister form, when boys are told not cry after they first fall in the playground. Most people easily fall into line with such stereotypical thinking, and thus they never think about things like the gender binary, or what gender really means to them. They’ve never had to, because the system works for them (though who knows if they really feel that way).

We like to think that gender is simply a matter of biology, but that’s exactly that kind of ignorance that allows gender stereotypes and discrimination to fester in a supposedly enlightened era. This, in combination with generations of social conditioning as mentioned in the last paragraph, is what makes it so easy for most people to ignore the people who don’t fit into the pattern established in a binary world. What about the tomboyish girls, the effeminate men, or transgender people? And why even stop there? There are various other broader, non-binary definitions of gender that exist in the world. The problem here is that the gender binary does not work for them. Society tends to ostracise anyone that doesn’t fit into its pattern, and this is especially true when it comes to enforcing its binary code. Even if a man doesn’t identify himself as female, he may still face disapproval or ridicule simply for exhibiting traits that are supposedly uncharacteristic (with more stereotypical men misusing the word “gay” to ostracise them just to make themselves look more masculine).

For me, the biggest problem with the gender binary is that it is primarily enforced by privileged cisgender individuals who have never had to face the challenge of thinking about who they are. These people are currently the heads of major advertising companies, our most popular sports players, and they are also the people running government. Currently, the gender binary remains a dominant force in our society because many of us lack the courage to question something as simple as why pink should be just for girls. If more of us actually took the time to ask questions about our cultural norms, they would suddenly seem less fallible, and the gender binary would crumble. Perhaps that’s why most people don’t bother questioning these things, because many of us are conditioned to be scared of expanding our minds, and that’s how the establishment preserves order in a time where the outdated clichés of the simplistic gender binary are now obsolete.

In my opinion, we can’t say sexism is dead as long as we still have an archaic, binary view on gender. How can we say we treat women as equals if we raise them up differently to men? How can we say we’ve progressed if Bratz still exits? What kind of people will our children grow up to be as along as we continue to poison their minds with the narrative that the gender binary presents? Furthermore, what kind of parents would tolerate that? I realize that there are a number of questions that I won’t have time to answer tonight, but I hope I’ve done my best to shed some sort of light on just why the current attitudes towards persist. In the end, the real key to changing things is understanding, for it is understanding that eventually breeds acceptance of the variety and validity of everyone’s idea of the self.

The pointless exercise of the art critic

art critic

Today, I’d like to talk about critics, the people who make a living writing about things you may or may not have already seen. Granted, I myself have thought of myself as a critic throughout my college years, but I focused on films and video games. Never in my lifetime did I consider art criticism a thing, and today, very little about that perception has changed.

Art criticism is a lot like music criticism – it attempts to set a standard of quality for a creative outlet that which is ultimately subjective and less tangible, which in my opinion contradicts the point of art. For me, the whole point of art is that everyone has a different idea of what they see, and what they think it means. For some, even a banal drawing of a house can hold some sort of philosophical meaning if one perceives it, and what others call a masterpiece can be perceived as meaningless by others. In other words, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That is the true power and value of art, and I feel that’s what art critics miss.

Of course, this wouldn’t bother me so much if art critics weren’t so pretentious about it. The problem with art critics is that they make it their mission to tell you the meaning of a certain artwork in a way that makes you sound like a complete idiot for “not getting it” in the first place, and what they usually churn out sounds like the kind of claptrap that only reinforces the stereotype of a pretentious ivory tower intelligentsia that is hopelessly out of touch with the common man. In other words, they make a living spewing what one of my art lecturers would call “arty bollocks”, and yet when they do it it’s called a career, while if I tried that, I’d be a considered a loony.

Whatever they’re actually saying, the vast majority of art critics, in their attempt to try and sell an objective meaning for an artwork, are highly likely to be driving a bias steamroller when it comes to various forms of art. For instance, Banksy is still quite popular with art critics, even though, as I’ve mentioned before, he’s basically a hack. A lot of these critics only seem to like what’s new and shocking, while they’ve had a history of simultaneously dismissing newers forms of art.

In the early 20th century, critics such as Robert Coates would dismiss some of Jackson Pollock’s artworks as “mere unorganized explosions of random energy”, and yet decades later, his painting “No. 5, 1948” would end up being sold to a Mexican financier named David Martinez for $140 million, even though I doubt that the buyer or the critics had any idea what the artwork even means. Earlier still, in the 19th century, Impressionist painters were despised by the French Academy of Fine Arts because they were different to the more realistic style of art preferred by the establishment at the time. Now the works of the Impressionsits and the Post-Impressionists are now part of the art establishment.

To me, the art critics represent the art establishment, whom I see as little more than a bunch of clowns flailing mindlessly as they try to interpret the meaning of art. Is there any reason why we can’t simply like our pretty paintings for reasons that don’t involve pretentious drollery? If not, then why not? These are the kind of answers that art critics won’t answer, and that being said, I’d strongly recommend not trusting art critics. In fact, the next time I hear an art critic loudly espousing some vague idea of what you’re really looking at, I might have the right mind to ask that critic what he or she was even thinking of to begin with, or if any of that had anything to do with the artwork itself.

“Angry mob justice” is no justice at all

shoreditch mob

Now what do you suppose that’s going to solve?

Last night, an angry mob of 200 people descended upon an East London cereal cafe, the much-maligned Cereal Killer Cafe, splashing paint and daubing the word “scum” on the shop windows and setting fire to an effigy of a police officer. The mob consisted of people wearing pig masks and carrying flaming torches. They claimed that the shop represented gentrification and inequality in the local area, while the self-declared “protesters” did little more than terrify the customers inside the shop. Ladies and gentlemen, the angry mob has struck once more.

Of course, anyone with even half a brain can tell that angry mobs have never done anything good. The Shoreditch mob was simply the latest in a long line of angry mobs flailing mindlessly in their vain attempt to dispense a hopeless interpretation of justice. They say they oppose gentrification and inequality, but if that were true, why attack a small cereal shop? You may as well be attacking a specialist cake shop, and it would be equally ineffectual. Furthermore, if they really believed in their case, then wouldn’t even be hiding behind their masks. Of course, only real reason you’d ever hide behind a mask is if you were committing a crime, and that’s all angry mobs really are – a band of petty thugs without cause.

Let’s take a moment to examine the kind of people who started the attack. They claim that their community is being ripped apart by foreign businessmen, using xenophobic language to point the finger at businessmen from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Texas, all while failing to clarify what they have to do with a small cereal shop. In fact, none of the rioters would clarify where they came from, so the East End mob comes across as little more than a gathering of angry morons who, rather than targeting large conglomerates, have elected to scapegoat a small business that does nothing more than sell cereal at an unusual price. The rioters probably thought of themselves as brave, but they weren’t. And by the way, setting up an Indiegogo page just to fund a “banging sound system” has nothing to do with fighting gentrification, and everything to do with shameless self-promotion, and the very kind of money-grabbing they claim to oppose.

If you ask me, so-called mob justice is a dangerous relic of the Dark Ages. It’s basically what happens when fear and impassioned hatred overcome the masses, and the end result is nothing more than pointless violence for its own sake, fuelled of course by demagoguery and self-righteous furor. I recognize that gentrification is an open-ended problem, but attacking a small business and terrifying the customers and staff inside can only do more harm than good. That’s the only thing that happens in an angry mob, and in this day and age, there’s no chance of it doing anything but spread fear and panic wherever the mob goes.

In a Barbie world

fashion models

There’s been plenty of talk about fashion models, specifically about how they are treated by modelling agencies. A model named Rosie Nelson has recently launched a petition asking the government to step in and create legislation designed to protect models from being pressured by their agencies to be “dangerously skinny”. She also alleges that models are afraid to speak out about the pressure to be thin right down to the bone. The petition had garnered a lot of support, and was mentioned on news websites like the Huffington Post and the Telegraph, although no word has come from the modelling agencies, or the UK government.

While I support the cause, I can’t help but think that what’s happened is indicative of a much larger problem. The fashion industry has long been maligned for presenting an unrealistic standard of beauty, and while people would like to blame the fashion industry for causing eating disorders and negative body image, it would be intransigently naive and irresponsible to solely blame them. In fact, a combination of life experiences and reinforced cultural messages contribute to a maelstrom of low self-esteem, and in that regard, there is one cultural symbol of the problem that has gone unabated for decades. I’m talking, of course, about Barbie.

For many years, Barbie has come to represent an unrealistic standard of beauty that many young girls have simply accepted without qualms. This has led to a generation of young girls copying every aspect her look, from the fake tan to the measurements. The problem is that Barbie’s measurements look pretty much non-human. In fact, I’m very sure that the 16-inch waistline proposed by a Barbie doll is not a healthy standard for an adult woman. Ironically, the ultra-thin fashion model seems slightly more realistic, but it’s still a terrible standard, and the fact the lack of oversight speaks volumes about how we are aiding and abetting a culture of body shaming.

Of course, things like low self-esteem and eating disorders all have numerous factors, so it would be equally unwise to just blame Barbie dolls and fashion models. This is why France’s ban on dangerously underweight models won’t fix everything. However, we mustn’t forget that these messages are everywhere you look. The media, the fashion industry and the beauty magazines are always hammering home an unrealistic standard of beauty that has somehow endured long after it should have been discredited years ago. As long as this is still going on, we may in fact be subjecting our young to a delusional Barbie world where eating is discouraged, and vanity is exalted.

The more we continue to expose young people to an unrealistic standard of beauty as frequently as we do, the more future generations will consider it to be normal. If that were to be the case, we may be turning a blind eye to serious problems, and this is particularly bad when it comes to anorexia, which has the highest death rate of any mental illness (with between 5% and 20% of anorexia sufferers dying from the illness). Perhaps this is what happens when we prioritize vanity over health, vacuity over intelligence, and lust over emotional well-being. In other words, banning dangerously skinny catwalk models would be a decent start, but it would only be scratching the surface of an extremely open-ended cultural problem.

Nostalgia blindness

There’s something very weird that happens in popular culture, particularly in the realms of music, films, TV shows and video games. After a certain of period of time passes (perhaps a decade or so), we act as though the cultural objects that emerged during that time are some of the best things to happen to our lives, even though there’s a slim chance that we may not have thought that way at the time. For example, various arcade games released in the 70’s and 80’s would have been taken for what they were during their time (simple entertainment), but are now hailed as iconic relics of their time. Often, this manifests itself as a mentality where people are so consumed by nostalgia that it clouds their judgement to the point that anything new is always bad. This is what’s called “nostalgia blindness”

happy days

Because apparently there used to be a time when this looked good.

Before anybody starts throwing a hissy fit, I am not against nostalgia. In fact, I think nostalgia can be good thing. In fact, I myself sometimes can’t help getting a little stuck in the past. Sometimes it’s good to look back on the past and what we loved, but nostalgia blindness does not refer to this. Nostalgia blindness is when we automatically assume anything newer to be inferior to what we knew in childhood. It’s extremely common in gaming culture, where people’s inability to get over nostalgia ruins sequels to video games that are ostensibly superior than their predecessors, but I can talk about nostalgia blindness in video games any time I want, in any post about video games or indeed gaming culture, so today, I’m not talking about video games. Besides, the way I see it, nostalgia blindness goes way beyond that.

I’ve already mentioned how Buzzfeed spends its time promoting pointless 90’s nostalgia (which I’ll get to talk about later on in this post), so let’s stick to a more basic point. Nostalgia blindness kicks in when you grew up with something and your sense of nostalgia blinds you to the flaws of what you were raised with. For example, a number of films from the 20th century now seem very much outdated (depending on what films you actually watch), but survive based on the nostalgia of an older generation of viewers. Because of this, many people forget about the weaknesses of these films based on pure nostalgia. This also seems to happen whenever we remember anything targeted at a youth audience. Whenever anyone wants to rant about how bad the present day is (and I know I’ve done this before), they bring up examples of things that were marketed to the youth of their day as either “more tolerable”, “good”, or even “classics”. Of course, back then, the older generation would have been the ones deriding that as terrible compared to what they grew up, saying the exact same things as we would be today. It’s a neverending cycle of pointless cynicism from the older generation, and equally pointless sycophancy from the younger generation.

Entire periods of history can become victims of this, especially the latter half of the 20th century, and with that in mind, let’s start by talking about the 1950’s, which is the subject of the famous American sitcom Happy Days. Many who are nostalgic about the 50’s focus on the vibrant optimism of the decade, the golden age of American affluence, and the dawn of rock and roll. However, the 50’s today are famous for the notoriously buttoned-up cultural norms that dominated the American landscape. Because of this, almost everything from the 50’s now seems bland  to anyone who didn’t grow up during that time. Also, let’s not forget that the 50’s was still an era where sexism and racism were institutionalized norms of American society, and anyone who disagreed was branded a “filthy communist” who threatened the “morals of society”.

The 60’s was an interesting case. It started out as barely anything different to the 50’s, except that the early part of the decade gave rise to the era of the archetypal jet set playboy. Of course, people today remember the 60’s for the hippie counter-culture, the Beatles, pop art, psychedelic rock, LSD, the civil rights movement, the space race, and the sexual revolution. The 60’s is etched into modern culture, primarily because the people who came out of the decade haven’t stopped going on about how great it was. When they talk about how great the 60’s was, they tend to leave out the negatives. Much of what happened in the 60’s happened in the context of both the Cuban Missile crisis and the Vietnam War. The flower power dream was crushed in the midst of riots, social unrest, government oppression, and Altamont, all of which tended to be ignored by 60’s nostalgia. And then the 70’s was remembered for disco, funk, punk, Space Invaders, classic rock, the golden age of porn, and a wealth of sitcoms and Saturday morning cartoons. That aside, the events of the 70’s helped shape the world into its current form, but was frequently ridiculed as the decade where disco was popular, which makes no sense when you consider that disco was only around for a few years until the decade ended. Also, historically speaking, 70’s was a decade of confusion and disillusionment. The Vietnam war still raged for a time, the energy crisis had the Western world running out of gas for the first time, and crime was going on the rise. Also during the 70’s, people were depserate for something to take their minds off of the bleak landscape of the era, and so Hollywood obliged by introducing a new wave of 50’s nostalgia, and by setting into motion the dawn of blockbuster cinema.

The 80’s is a major target of nostalgia blindness. Everything that was popular about the 80’s is still beloved by anyone who isn’t repulsed by all the neon lights. Even people who weren’t even born in the 80’s can’t stop fawning over the decade of excess. At this point, it’s not so much a question of what the 80’s is remembered for, but what they weren’t remembered for. Popular culture as we know it today was practically born in the 80’s, which brought us Rambo, Nintendo, the moonwalk, VHS, The Karate Kid, New Wave music, and a whole host of other things that we need only to look around for. They’re also remembered for home computers, Hollywood blockbusters, teen movies, and ridiculous hair. We currently live in a time where 80’s nostalgia is still very popular. Pretty much all the clichés of popular culture were created in the 80’s, and there’s a plethora of TV shows, movies, and even video games dedicated to emulating the campiest, cheesiest elements of the decade’s absurdly optimistic neon glow. That being said, there’s currently a major case of nostalgia blindness going on, because all of it ignores everything bad about the decade. Here in Britain, we elected a stern old lady who did about as much damage to the nation as David Cameron is set to do today. Elsewhere, the spread of the AIDS virus created widespread panic, as homophobes treated homosexuality as the modern equivalent of leprosy. Also, America’s political landscape was dominated by the rise of the religious right, as conservative Christians began to gain significant political influence. In a sense, it was almost like it was the 50’s all over again. It’s not as though the culture of the time was much better. In fact, the 80’s popularized a number of horrible teen stereotypes, and brought us the abominable, neon-tinged nightmare of cock rock (better known as glam metal).


Thank God we got over that.

Finally, let’s talk about the 90’s, the decade I was actually born into, and also the decade that Facebook doesn’t shut up about. The 90’s is well-remembered by the current generation for the rise of the Internet, Forrest Gump, porn, Bill Clinton (and maybe porn involving him), hip hop music, Kurt Cobain, Disney’s renaissance period, The Simpsons, Cartoon Network, and the birth of reality TV. Frankly, I didn’t care much for the 90’s, primarily because I was a barely intelligent toddler by the time the decade ended. Hence, I get rather annoyed with all this 90’s nostalgia for the following reasons.

  1. The fashion of the 90’s was downright terrible.
  2. The Macarena will instantly bring horrible memories back to my mind.
  3. Everything else that’s horribly wrong here.

The 90’s saw popular culture morphing into its current state, in that movies and TV shows were getting dumber and dumber as time went by. Films began to rely more heavily on CGI, and were often the poorer for it. Meanwhile, rap music became the misogynist, mind-numbing schlock that it is today, with rock music struggling to survive in a time where the mainstream has started to abandon it. The 90’s also brought about the whole “debate” over whether video games cause violent crimes (a topic I will cover another day). It was also the decade when the US and UK started bombing the Middle East in a campaign that eventually culminated in two unjust wars that the people in charge spent the next decade trying to justify. Besides, most of what we choose to remember about the 90’s comes from the aggressive marketing campaigns we may have been exposed to as children. In other words, the 90’s was essentially a drowning pool of jaundiced slogans and committee thinking.

All that being said, I understand that nostalgia can be a good thing. But, as I’ve spent the last six paragraphs illustrating, it’s very easy to allow nostalgia to cloud our judgement to the point that we forget that we could be doing better by moving forward. It’s also important for me to point out that preferring things that were made before you were born isn’t inherently bad so long as you aren’t too closed-minded about it. Yes, we all love reminiscing over the past, but if we allow ourselves to get stuck in the past, then we are less motivated to move forward towards the future, and would be far less happier with life in the present.

My thoughts on Jeremy Corbyn

jeremy corbyn

Over the past weekend, the British media has been buzzing about Labour’s new leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who was elected leader of the party in a landslide on Saturday. A self-described democratic socialist, he swept to office on an anti-austerity platform, promising to put an end to the nightmare David Cameron has created for us. He says he wants to combat corporate tax evasion, abolish tuition fees, restore student grants, re-nationalize public services, scrap the Trident program, and reverse the wave of cuts that Cameron has been putting in place since 2010.

I know that I don’t normally have any modicum of faith in any politician, but this guy really speaks to me. He’s the British equivalent of Bernie Sanders, in that his platform focuses on the issues, and he stands up to the current political climate. He’s exactly what Labour needs, because for the past five years Labour had been nothing more than a lumbering dinosaur. They’ve been trying too hard to remain in the centre, hoping they’d repeat the success of Tony Blair, and this approach has backfired tremendously. Their last leader, Ed Miliband, was an incompetent buffoon who, though genuine in his desire for change, had terrible PR, and eventually capitulated to the austerity bandwagon in a failed attempt to make Labour electable. Under his direction, Labour may as well not have been much different to the current government.

Jeremy Corbyn represents a new alternative to the stodgy old politics of yesteryear. He presents an antidote to the bleak miserabilism of the early 2010’s, and he presents the message that things can and will change if we work towards it. It sounds pretty idealist, but no form of social change has ever happened on its own. Corbyn has only been leader of the Labour party for two days, but he already shows a lot promise. Under his leadership, Labour could once again become the party that actually challenges the Tories and sticks up for the working man.

Naturally, David Cameron feels threatened by a Labour leader who actually has the balls to challenge him. After all, he’s the only party leader in the UK who has any political courage left, and he has become one of Britain’s most popular political figures seemingly overnight. By contrast, David Cameron is still the most hated, loathed and despised man in Britain, mainly because he’s arrogant, smug, over-privileged, and he’s done more harm to our country than good. In response, Cameron and his party members have been going out of their way to present Corbyn as a danger to national security. Specifically, they claim that he’s friends with terrorists, sympathized with Osama bin Laden, and wants to disarm the UK and dismantle the army. They also claim that he is a threat to the nation’s economic security and the security of British families.

Of course, anyone with a brain can see right through the Tories’ obvious propaganda. They never did this with Ed Miliband, so why are they doing this with Jeremy Corbyn? It’s because Cameron knows that nobody likes him anymore, and now that Jeremy Corbyn offers the way out, the conservatives are trying to move heaven and earth to blunt his popularity five years before the next election is even happening. Here the thing, David Cameron has no right to bark on about Labour being a threat to national security, because he’s already destroying this country one year at a time. He’s already threatening our human rights, our privacy, our education, the disabled, the NHS, and democracy itself (among other things). David Cameron literally cares about nothing other than his snobby rich pals, and yet he has tenacity to accuse his opponent of being a threat to national security. To me, this is another sign that David Cameron is sounding increasingly more dictatorial as time goes by, and if Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party is the only credible opposition to that, then I would gladly break by anti-voting stance and vote for him in 2020 just to kick the current Prime Minister out of power.

In my opinion, Jeremy Corbyn represents the last hope we have at stopping David Cameron and his band of rich buddies from doing irreparable damage to the country. It may be five years too early, but if the current government is taking Corbyn seriously enough to start an early smear campaign against him, then we should take this as a sign that change will be on horizon. If he succeeds in his goals, then he stand a chance at bringing Britain back from the brink, and helping forge a fairer, better future not just for us, but for future generations as well. Again, this admittedly sounds totally idealistic, but compared to Cameron’s right-wing regime, an incompetent Liberal Democrat party, and the other minor parties who won’t accomplish anything, I believe that Corbyn is the only sane option left, and only time will tell if I and Corbyn’s many supporters were right to put our trust in him.

How are beauty pageants still a thing?

miss america


Today America distracts itself from more important issues with the Miss America pageant, and whenever I think of something like this it baffles me. How is something like this still around in this day and age? Beauty pageants in general sound like an extremely cheesy, outdated, and embarrassingly sexist concept, and to be fair, that’s probably because they are. Miss America started in 1921, a time when, despite having won their right to vote, women were still being treated as second-class citizens, and were still being conditioned by society into believing that their economic security and social status was secured by marrying a man (a lie that is still carried on to this day). Since then, society’s views on women had changed irrevocably, and that should have made beauty pageants outdated, but somehow they still survive.

With the rise of the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960’s, the Miss America pageant came to epitomize everything wrong with America’s view on women. By that time, the pageant was seen by the public as something as quintessentially American as apple pie, and anyone who was crowned Miss America was universally accepted as an icon, and a role model for young girls. Miss America would US troops in foreign countries to rally them, fuelling the perception of Miss America is a mascot for the US military, in much the same way as pin-up girls were during the Second World War. The Miss America protest drew worldwide attention to the women’s liberation movement, but then feminists ended up being stereotyped by anti-feminists as “bra-burners” as a result, even though no bras were actually burned at the protest.

Whatever the result, the feminists absolutely had a point. Even today, Miss America, and indeed all pageants, serve only to further the antiquated notion that looks are more important than anything else. It represents a tradition of labelling, worshipping and exploiting an arbitrary and artificial ideal of beauty. While we’re here, let’s talk about what we somehow consider “beautiful”. In any Miss America pageant, do you notice how almost all the contestants use spray tan? What is it with the West and its obsession with spray tan? It doesn’t make you more beautiful. In fact, I have a firm conviction that spray tan, combined with the kind of heavy make-up you usually see on TV, makes people look awful. If we want to appreciate beautiful people, then shouldn’t we appreciate their real beauty, instead of sending young girls the message that all men want to date vacuous bimbos with spray tan and an overdose of heavy make-up?

Another thing that seriously bugs me is the idea of child beauty pageants. In some parts of America, they hold pageants that are essentially the miniature equivalent of a Miss America pageant. As much as regular beauty pageants exploit women for their perceived looks, and as bad of a message that sends, the child beauty pageants are far worse because they’re doing this to children. What kind of parents would subject their children to that level of exploitation? Are they trying to teach their children that the way to get accepted is to put on a lot of make-up and dance for the cameras? For that matter, who judges these pageants?

miss usa

If he were one of the judges, I wouldn’t be surprised.

The blatant sexism and inhumanity of the concept isn’t the only thing that strikes me. Clearly the only reason pageants like Miss America and Miss Universe existed is so TV audiences could ogle “attractive” women in a safe environment. I thought that was the whole idea behind pornography. That being said, why do beauty pageants exist in a time where there’s a wealth of free porn on the Internet? Are TV networks really that out of touch, or do they just want to draw our attention away from it? Compared to what you can see on the internet, beauty pageants may as well be as tame as a Rock Hudson film, or even a Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Perhaps what should be more worrying is how pageants such as Miss America misrepresent women. Aside from the fact that the competitions focus on looks, they always seem to pick people with little intelligence whatsoever, and this shows when the judges ask them to answer absurdly specific questions in only 20 seconds, which forces them to churn out humiliatingly dumb answers. Are those the kind of role models we want for young girls?

Furthermore, how is it that pageants still exist in the year 2015? With all that we’ve accomplished in combating sexism, I would have thought that beauty pageants would have gone the way of the Confederate flag. As long as they’re still here, all they do is enforce the horrid notion that women and girls should be judged primarily by looks, and they make others feel bad for not living up to “the standard” set by pageant winners, putting enormous pressure on women and girls to spend time and money on beauty products, dieting, and sometimes cosmetic surgery just to conform to some lowly mainstream standard of beauty. It doesn’t just happen in America either. There are pageants all over the world, and they’re all equally pointless.

Ultimately, pageants like Miss America seriously contradict modern values, and their continued existence says something horrible about how mainstream society sees women. After all, if you don’t see anything wrong with a guy in a tuxedo standing in front of a bunch of spray tanned, bikini-clad girls waiting to be judged, well then I don’t know what to tell you.