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Diatribe: A Few Tattoos Is The Least Of Miss America’s Problems.

09/15/2013

MissKansasThere’s been lots of talk this week about Theresa Vail, 22, who will be competing as Miss Kansas in tonight’s Miss America pageant.  Ms. Vail will be the first contestant to proudly display large tattoos during the annual contest.  She showed them off during Tuesday’s preliminary competition in Atlantic City and she’s been getting a lot of attention ever since.

Vail, a sergeant in the U.S. Army and only the second contestant ever to be on active duty, is receiving lots of support.  She’s also received some negative feedback about her tattoos, but she believes that’s from older people who still associate tattoos with “bikers and thugs, and that just not the way of the world anymore.”

“Nobody expects a soldier to be a beauty queen.  But I’m all about breaking stereotypes.  My whole platform is empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers.  What a hypocrite I would be if I covered my ink.  How can I tell other women to be fearless and true to themselves if I can’t do the same?  I am who I am, tattoos and all.” – Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas

I find it difficult to discuss the concept of “today’s woman” in the context of an archaic beauty pageant competition.  Frankly, the fact that these contests still exist is baffling.  When the first Miss America Pageant was broadcast on live television in 1954 it broke viewership records.  Today, many woman are appalled by the concept of parading in front of judges like so many dogs in a kennel club competing for bests in show.

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7 Comments
  1. I like how they call them scholarship pageants now but make the women wear bikinis and evening gowns.

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  2. She is entitled to be what she wants. More power to her. But, to add to your concern over the devotion in our country to the importance of looks and sex appeal as exemplified by these contests, another thought crossed my mind. If she ever had the misfortune where she is raped by a fellow soldier (with our unhealthy prevalence in our military), if her case went to trial, all of this stuff would be used against her in court. And, that would be a shame.

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  3. I agree with you, DAO. Beauty pageants are a remnant of old culture that promotes the opposite of what women voters appear to want, which is parity of power and position with men. Parading in bikini’s just flaunts them as sex objects, not that the view isn’t interesting.

    But I’m glad Ms. Vail is raising the issue by flaunting her tats and her boobs because that’s what is at the heart of the sexual harassment problems in the U.S. military. It’s unfair and destructive for women to use their sexuality to get parity with men, particularly in situations like the military that involve long family separations under stressful conditions.

    I have zero hope that appealing to Ms. Vail or other women can resolve this problem. It’s unrealistic to think that someone won’t use every weapon they have to get ahead and women have been using their wiles that way since before Helen of Troy. That’s why I posted an opinion on this a few months ago that the military ought to create women-only, or mostly-women units. Mixing the sexes is fighting nature and nature is going to win.

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  4. I hope these contests are becoming more about an all round great woman who wants to further her education & can win money from the contests to do it. I haven’t watched one in about 20 years.

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