HUMOR – If you are one of those people who spend Sunday night in a Sunday nap hangover, you probably missed the recent Miss USA pageant wherein Miss Utah, Marissa Powell, flubbed her answer to the question, “A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”
At this point everyone is thinking up their brilliant responses from the comfort of their recliners and baggy sweatpants, surrounded by family and people who love them.
Now think about how you would have answered that question standing on a Las Vegas stage in a ball gown, on ridiculously high heels, under glaring lights, knowing that your answer would be televised to millions of cranky people who are missing their Sunday naps to hear your answer.
This was Miss Utah’s answer:
I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to … (uncomfortably long pause) … figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem and, I think, especially the men are seen as the leaders of this, so we need to — create education better so we can solve this problem.
Admittedly, Miss Utah’s answer was incoherent and Sarah Palin-esque, but we are all human. We all screw up and at least she seems to have a sense of humor about it. Her answer to the question was not the problem.
The question was the problem. The Washington Post’s “ComPost” blogger, Alexandra Petri, rephrased the question this way: “Hey, person whom we just explicitly judged on the appearance of her finer points in a bikini, please talk about sexism.”
While I do not think that the existence of beauty pageants significantly influences the amount of compensation a qualified female employee receives, I do think that as long as women allow themselves to be judged according to their bikini body on stage, some men will continue to see those women as pieces of meat. Some male brains are hardwired to objectify scantily-dressed women, it seems.
If you worry about being objectified, here is the obvious answer: Do not behave like an object.
If you want to earn more and be taken seriously, work hard, finish school, cover up your nether-regions, stand up straight, use decent grammar, and throw away all of the fast food wrappers from the floor of your car. And do not take any guff.
A great thing about living in 2013 as opposed to 1953 is that it is socially acceptable for women to choose what they do and where they work. Do you want to be an astronaut? Do it. Do you want to be a housewife? Do it. Do you want to be the person who taste-tests Blue Bunny ice cream? That is my dream job, too.
Do you want to win a beauty pageant? Fine, but understand that you are perpetuating the objectification of women. Understand that if you do not get your crap together during the question-and-answer portion thousands of those same women who would argue that women should wear and do whatever they want will blame you if they are not paid as well as their male counterparts.
Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.
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