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The Dark Side of the Miss USA Pageant
March 13, 2013 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Donald Trump trumpets the integrity of the Miss USA pageant. The truth is a bit different.
posted by reenum (30 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Did you just put the words "Donald Trump" and "integrity" in the same sentence?
posted by gwint at 8:14 AM on March 13, 2013 [31 favorites]


"Keep Smiling!"
posted by mrgrimm at 8:16 AM on March 13, 2013


Some of the men who recruit and run the organization's lucrative pageants are scam artists with lengthy track records of manipulating desperate clients with false promises of fame.

I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!
posted by chavenet at 8:17 AM on March 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


I believe it's been renamed to Miss Racist Plutocrat
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:19 AM on March 13, 2013 [10 favorites]


Wow, that ItGirls website mentioned in the article looks like it's just begging for an avalanche of C&D orders from lawyers.

Forget the Michelle Obama and Taylor Swift images on the homepage, the Oprah Hammer is the one you gotta watch out for.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:19 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did you just put the words "Donald Trump" and "integrity" in the same sentence?

Separated by the verb "trumpets" so no foul here.
posted by three blind mice at 8:25 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Its easy, and dismissive, to hand out a snarky comment about how "duh this is happening" right off the bat. But I feel like this warrants more attention. The story that the article follows along is absolutely, positively disgusting. Rodriguez took the girl to a parking lot and tried to bribe her into performing a sexual act on him, from a position not dissimilar between employer and employee, and she refused. She wasn't able to get anywhere with the cops, and the agency basically just said "Whoops! sorry bout that. You should still be in the pageant, though!" after backing him as a reputable agent in the first place.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:27 AM on March 13, 2013 [18 favorites]


Utterly vile.
posted by Sternmeyer at 8:30 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Unsurprising in an industry based on the commodification of women.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:37 AM on March 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


The title insinuates there is a not dark side?
posted by JoanArkham at 8:38 AM on March 13, 2013 [13 favorites]


And on the other side - Honey boo boo.
posted by marienbad at 8:40 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Whole deal sucks. Pun intended. Pageants are basically a Bad Thing.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 8:44 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Beauty pageants and freak shows ritually enact a symbolic transference of embodiment within a cultural tradition which deeply, anxiously distrusts the body and its vulnerabilities."
posted by mrgrimm at 9:21 AM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd always assumed that the background of a beauty pageant would look more or less like the Bunny scene in Apocalypse Now. Not far off, I guess.
posted by klanawa at 9:29 AM on March 13, 2013


"It's not a good sign if Donald Trump doesn't want to be associated with you."
posted by 1367 at 9:54 AM on March 13, 2013


No one deserves to be treated like a commodity. Phenomenons like this remind me of cults in the sense that it's hard not the think of participants "Yeah but WHY did you think this would be ok?" the first moment you realized the premise involved treating people badly?

Somany human beings are frequently ignorant and delusional and not capable of basic logic applied to the myth they are compassionate aware human beings. I imagine many of the participants in things like this are assholes, but when you look at how brutal competition IN GENERAL can be and how we all turn a blind eye...

We're forgetting to celebrate humans for human beings first- and enjoy their contributions and abilities second.

I think this reflects an aspect of our culture that many of us (including myself) participate in and condone by going along with the fact that female beauty is something women MUST have to be seen as people worth looking at. (And a trend where this pressure starts being put on men as well is NOT an improvement in my opinion.) Our films and our tv series all feed this. A lot of us aren't as innocent about it as it seems or we would put more pressure towards changing it instead of just going along with it passively. What women get media attention? What women star in romance movies? The same pressure currently DOESN'T exist for men who star in romance movies, tv series, dramas... Just look through ANY teen movie or show-- what are we teaching your young people? It's not just these goons in stupid beauty pageants who are obsessed with seeing beautiful people as worthy of attention. It's a LOT of people making choices to feed this trend.
posted by xarnop at 10:01 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Everyone wants to make some money somehow."

Except for some of the recruiters, who just want free blow jobs.

But this is the worst: "I never thought I was worthy enough anyway," she said. "I didn't think I was what they were looking for."

That's because they don't look for fighters who call their bullshit to the mat -- and so, so sadly she feels this reduces her worth.
posted by mibo at 11:24 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"It's not a good sign if Donald Trump wants to be associated with you."
posted by sammyo at 11:26 AM on March 13, 2013


JoeyZydeco is right about the "Itgirls" site. Also, there is a photo upoader at the bottom of the page, if only I had a peice of software to automatically upload a shed ton of random google pics.
posted by marienbad at 11:33 AM on March 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Beauty pageants and freak shows ritually enact a symbolic transference of embodiment within a cultural tradition which deeply, anxiously distrusts the body and its vulnerabilities."

I think there are all sorts of reasonable things that can be said about this stuff--e.g. that it is nauseating and grotesque, that many of the people are scumbags, and that they are victimizing innocent, trusting people. Since basically everything that needs to be said about it can be said in fairly clear and straightforward terms, like those, let me suggest--or at least raise the possibility--that falling back on lit-critty (so-called) "theory' does nothing but muddy the waters in a case in which it'd be better to keep them clear.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 11:43 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


The worst story depicted in that article is unfortunately just "He said, she said." That doesn't mean something didn't happen, or that it didn't happen exactly as she says. But if it didn't, then that portion of this article is unfortunate.
posted by cribcage at 11:45 AM on March 13, 2013


God, it's all just so gross. Also, I had a hard time reading this at work for fear the photos of the oily creeps in the article would be seen by others and out of context folks would wonder why I was looking at these sleazy dudes. Ick.
posted by but no cigar at 11:57 AM on March 13, 2013


"The beauty pageant promotes the ideology of America, that we are capable of anything, that 'we've got… pluck', in the most non-threatening of ways, through the female body.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:09 PM on March 13, 2013


Its easy, and dismissive, to hand out a snarky comment about how "duh this is happening" right off the bat.

But seriously . . . Duh. I'd be more shocked if this wasn't going on. There is nothing about this that is remotely surprising.
posted by murfed13 at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2013


Even the non-seedy side of pageants is seedy.

My 12 year old recently received two solicitations to enter local beauty pageants within the last few months. (I'm not sure who sold her name, maybe American Girl?) Since I've been on a Toddlers and Tiara's binge I checked to see how much it would cost. I figure I could repeat This bit of activism at the 1988 Miss California pageant. Fortunately (or not?) the cost to enter was nearly $500 (not including hideous cupcake dresses, white socks, or fake eyelashes) and the pay-off in terms of prizes was pretty bad (pageant "coaching" and lodging while promoting the pageant and some other unspecified prizes. no cash, no bonds, no scholarships!)
posted by vespabelle at 2:21 PM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Another article came out today about Erik DeSando, one of the recruiters profiled in the Gawker story. As of the posting of this second article, DeSando has resigned effective immediately from ItGirls (which he founded).
posted by palomar at 4:37 PM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not a good sign if Donald Trump doesn't want to be associated with you.
posted by juiceCake at 7:45 PM on March 13, 2013


Its easy, and dismissive, to hand out a snarky comment about how "duh this is happening" right off the bat.

But seriously . . . Duh. I'd be more shocked if this wasn't going on. There is nothing about this that is remotely surprising.
posted by murfed13 at 1:46 PM on March 13 [+] [!]


If you think the point of trying to shed light on sexual harassment in the talent business and the grim nature of using women as a commodity is for shock value, then you're missing the fucking point.
posted by FirstMateKate at 8:04 PM on March 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you think the point of trying to shed light on sexual harassment in the talent business and the grim nature of using women as a commodity is for shock value, then you're missing the fucking point.

My point is that Miss USA is gross, and that these types of things would be going on is obvious. It's not "shedding light" at all. This isn't news; this is the natural byproduct of an industry that sells women as objects. It's sad to me that anyone actually requires enlightening on the subject.
posted by murfed13 at 8:14 PM on March 13, 2013


Is Miss America much or any better? I genuinely don't know.

Also, even outside of the commodification and the sex crimes and so on: beauty pageants are really weird.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:06 AM on March 15, 2013


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