Social Question

janedelila's avatar

The Miss USA Pageant, how degrading is the way of addressing the contestants?

Asked by janedelila (3904points) June 19th, 2011

I hear this in the background at home and the host, and everyone else is calling the women by the state names. “Texas, come forward.” All the way through the show they are addressed as such, also on commentary the contestants cannot hear. Am I to have respect for the “institution” of the pageant or the people who allow themselves to be addressed this way?

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43 Answers

chyna's avatar

I’m not seeing how this is degrading.

roundsquare's avatar

It sound like you think Miss USA is degrading to women in the first place…

zenvelo's avatar

It’s probably considered more neutral than using their names. When Miss America was first broadcast it was encouraged to root for the girl from your own state. Back in the 50’s and 60s, people did not travel near as much and states all seemed to have different cultures and personalities.

The whole thing is degrading; I wouldn’t focus on this one aspect.

_zen_'s avatar

That’s the degrading part?

JLeslie's avatar

I think the OP means saying Texas alone without the Miss is degrading.

_zen_'s avatar

I repeat: that’s the part he finds degrading about a pageant?

athenasgriffin's avatar

I can see how many people think the Miss America Pageants are degrading, but really, I don’t see it that way. Calling them by their state names is much less logistically challenging than calling them by their names. How would the viewers know who was being called if they were being called by their names?

JLeslie's avatar

@zen LOL. Ok ok. I don’t mind the pageants. If they want to compete, go for it.

_zen_'s avatar

@athenasgriffin Right – because it takes so long to say Ms. Jones from Texas.

athenasgriffin's avatar

@zen I’m not always right.
. . . don’t tell me that when I’m sure I’m right in about five minutes. . .

Kayak8's avatar

I am with @zen on this one, but I think the reason is because the hosts they get for these things don’t seem to be bright enough to match the right names to the correct women, much less pronounce them all . . .

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, what if they have a difficult name? Almost no one gets either of my last names right. Lol. We had a friend who became a professional race car driver and they said his last name wrong the first couple of years. It was ridiculous. And he tried to correct it, he did not just ignore it.

_zen_'s avatar

Arnold Schwarzenneger. I rest my case.

deni's avatar

If they said the names, it would just be confusing.

_zen_'s avatar

I think they should just be called by their numbers.

JLeslie's avatar

Hahaha. Are you saying if we can pronounce schwarzenneger we should be able to pronounce anything?

Numbers. Really bad.

Facade's avatar

No more “degrading” than calling athletes by their numbers.

JLeslie's avatar

See that, @Facade has a really good point.

6rant6's avatar

How about “Redhead, 36,25, 35 122 5–7 and half. Come on down!”

_zen_'s avatar

What point would that be?

It sounds nice – but is it true? Can I see some examples? Even in basketball and football – when in some cases (the latter) the names aren’t written on the shirts – they are never called by their numbers. Lebron shoots – swish! Jordan is up – and scores! What’s his number? Has anyone ever called him 23?

And how can you compare that cattle call of a Trumpgasma to sports? Should my daughter grow up and aspire to be an Olympic swimmer – or just to wear her bathing suit and show her curves to a bunch of lecherous old men? Sheeeeeesh.

JLeslie's avatar

I gave you a GA @zen . Even though I am not as upset as you. I really have no idea, now that I think about it, if players are called by their numbers. I know I look for their numbers when I am watching the field. Now, don’t be angry with me.

_zen_'s avatar

Next time you watch a game, any game – listen to the commentators. She didn’t say they don’t have numbers on their shirts ( think of a sports arena with 80,000 people – already from the third row it would be very hard to read a name on the back of a shirt – and on TV?!) – she said they are called by their numbers. Where? When? Who talks about athletes by their numbers?

Facade's avatar

@zen If I’m not mistaken, and I very well could be, they use the numbers in football. I don’t think they use the numbers all the time in every sport, but they are used sometimes.

JLeslie's avatar

Still curious, why did you bring up Schwarzenneger? Mr. black plowman?

_zen_'s avatar

Because you talked about difficult last names – and we even got used to saying Governor Schwarzenneger.

6rant6's avatar

Numbers are used by the officials of the game. Names are used by “sportscasters.” I suppose the hosts at pageants are a cross between the two.

Facade's avatar

@6rant6 Thanks, that’s what I was thinking of.

_zen_'s avatar

I think today’s youth should be educated to know the difference between a pageant – which is just that – a pageant – and an athlete. One is something you aspire to.

Facade's avatar

A lot of hard work and dedication goes into pageantry…

Facade's avatar

I’m so glad that worked.

Facade's avatar

It’s not personal. I don’t feel like typing about it lol

JLeslie's avatar

For some reason Americans don’t have trouble with Arnold’s name. We seem adept at pronouncing German names. Or, maybe it was tough at first, and now after years in the media we are good at it? It’s the names with a double consonant that Americans are not used to. Like God forbid your name has a TK in the middle or a ZR, forget it. See Shwarz is RZ, no problem. I can’t explain it.

Although, I see many many last names butchered. The driver we know is Raphael Matos, they just had to say may-tos could not say mat-tos, even though they were told over and over, never bothered to write it out phonetically. Finally, after a while it got corrected. At a pageant there is less time maybe? Less time to get it right? But, they should be able to spell it out phonetically you would think.

I have a girlfriend whose maiden name is Viviano. How the fuck can you screw that name up? Still, people got tongue tied and wouldn’t know how to spell it when she said it. It dumbfounds me also.

ucme's avatar

Maybe if they said “she has an arse the size of Nebraska, give her a great big friendly welcome….”

sinscriven's avatar

I’m with @zen . I think the degrading part is where they throw this competition that ranks women in how hot they look in certain dresses and swimsuits and how they answer vapid questions.

6rant6's avatar

Seems to me a lot of competitions are pretty shallow in concept. It’s what the competitors put into it that makes winning worthwhile.

Here – name these sports:
How tall can you be?
Can you push a guy out of a circle in 5 seconds.
Ride this horse that doesn’t want you riding it.
Jump high!

Or how about:
Sing, kowtow to the judges and tell America how hard your life is and how grateful you are for it.

roundsquare's avatar

@6rant6 I agree that many sports are shallow, but degrading is something different. Basketball, sumo wrestling, horse writing and the high jump are, in a sense, shallow. However, they aren’t about judging how well the competitors conform to their stereotypical role. The argument that Miss USA is degrading comes from the fact that its about women conforming to an outdated view that women are meant to be seen but not heard. Many people might disagree, but that is what distinguishes it from the sports you bring up.

Edit: I’m not sure exactly what definition of shallow I’m using here… but I think the statement still makes sense as long as you separate the idea of “shallow” from “degrading.”

6rant6's avatar

@roundsquare I find it bizarre that I’m defending the pageant circuit, but ya gotta be fair…

There is a lot in those competitions that includes learned skills and intelligence. They certainly are heard. If they don’t know how to speak well, they don’t get the title.

The ability to exude charisma is something they learn. I don’t know why that’s less socially relevant than say, kicking a football between two uprights. Some pageant skills are actually useful skills.

The part where they are selected according to a genetic model – tall and “appropriately” proportioned – is kind of icky. But it happens all over. Think about gymnasts – male or female. Basketball players. Distance runners. Sprinters. Swimmers. I don’t think that using a stopwatch to measure how well you fit the genetic profile is any more uplifting than having judges vote on how well you fit it. If anything it seems more human for people to be there to notice something unfamiliar but captivating.

Personally, I don’t watch pageants because contestants are not that interesting to me [I’d probably watch if there was more diversity]. But then I don’t watch American Idol or the NBA for the same reason.

I wonder what a competition would be like if contestants were both men and women. I still wouldn’t watch it. But I wonder if that would seem better to people who dislike the way they are so much.

One final thing… most of the competitions in the world reflect values developed to measure people in a time when societal values were different. Look at all the weapons that are used in competition: archery, shot put, discus, fencing. We don’t still place value on the original intent – to be able to kill your opposition – but recognize the value of persistence, focus, and practice that we find in champions. And even events like marathon and pole vault originally reflected military activities. Pageants have certainly evolved. They shall, like everything else, evolve or die. If they added a dodge ball elimination event – that I’d watch.

roundsquare's avatar

@6rant6 Good point. The pageant circuit has definitely evolved. But, while pageant winners must definitely learn to speak well and must be pretty intelligent (maybe even very intelligent, I’m not sure since I don’t know much about it) there is still a huge element of pseudo-traditional femininity required to win both with the genetic model (as you point out) and the charisma needed.* For people who dislike pageants, its the fact that these traits are required combined with where we are in history with respect to gender equality that (I’m guessing) causes the problem. The main difference is that, with men, the movement against traditional male roles is not nearly as strong.

What you say about social relevance though is certainly correct. The skills necessary to win a pageant are without doubt more useful (outside the competition itself) than those necessary for just about any sport (there may be an exception or two of course).

*Someone correct me if I’m wrong here.

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