Practice what we preach

January 29, 2015


Features Editor  




I am a feminist. I believe in gender equality. I believe in being beautiful and being intelligent, but I do not believe in exploiting those values for recognition.


On Sunday, the annual Miss Universe competition took place featuring 89 contestants.


Paulina Vega, Miss Colombia, was crowned Miss Universe 2015 following a less than stellar answer to her on-stage question.


She was asked by judge Rob Dyrdek, “Probably all of the time people have asked you, what can men learn from women, but I would like to know what can women learn from men?”


She said something along the lines of, “Men who believe in equality should be followed by women.” Even though she did not really answer the question, she propagated a good point.


Some feminists were put off by this question, although I am not completely sure why.


The question itself does not degrade women or depict us as inferior, but it could be argued that the entire competition delineates women negatively.


I am aware of the scholarships awarded to these extraordinarily beautiful titleholders, but it does not eliminate the objectification stemmed in these competitions.


Women are awarded money for parading on stage in a formal gown (that would take a student loan to pay for), a bikini (that is supposed to be representative of a healthy lifestyle) and they must perform a talent (to perfection to avoid humiliation); not to forget the on-stage question, philanthropic platform and preliminary interview, all set in place to showcase beauty, intelligence and service.


During performance in all of these categories, women are being dehumanized and exscinded, while a panel of judges analyzes their flaws to determine who is more perfect.


Why is it that we encourage young girls to be confident, and unconcerned for their physical appearance because it is said that personality that matters, if we are going to allow them to witness young adults winning monetary prizes in the disguise of scholarships for doing exactly that?


A professor from Florida International University, this year’s host for Miss Universe, said we need to “unlearn the messages sent about women by society…that they are not to be judged by their looks and that it is fine to treat them as objects for men’s fantasies.”


The feminist issue does not lie in Dyrdek’s question, but in the event in which his question was asked.


If we are going to preach it, we need to teach it.


Kelsy Kershaw is a senior journalism and fashion merchandising and retail studies major from Jennings Email comments to kjk016@latech.edu.


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