This week internationalcupcakebandit and eszenyme talk about the debate surrounding the recent controversy of Jenna Talackova, a transgender pageant contestant, who was initially barred but then admitted to compete in the Miss Universe competition.
eszenyme: did you see this article about the controversy surrounding the transgendered competitor for Miss USA?
internationalcupcakebandit: Yeah I did! Truly crazy.. I can’t believe they were actually about to not let her compete, thankfully Trump gave in. I say, a big freaking, GOOD FOR HER! It’s really exciting that such a stereotyped role of the “pageant winner” is being challenged and broken down in the media. I’d say that’s a win right?
eszenyme: I have mixed feelings about it. While I definitely agree that she should be allowed to compete, I can’t help but wondering whether it’s a good thing. I know it’s a good consciousness raising event, whether purposeful or not. But it seems like now that Miss USA has allowed a transgendered competitor to be eligible, we’ve all forgotten how misogynistic pageants are in general.
internationalcupcakebandit: Yeah no I agree with you there, I clearly think that Jenna should be able to compete but it does raise a lot of questions about whether pageants are a good thing at all. Some part of me feels like even though it’s a step to equality, it’s also a step towards a more stereotyped society as a whole. Although, it does make me think of the recent drag show this Monday at JMU’s Artful Dodger. It’s a wonderful party/event that I personally love going to every year. Does that mean that’s a stereotype too?
eszenyme: I definitely think it’s a form of equality but is it the right forum? It feels like she’s fighting for equality to be treated unequally. I think drag shows can definitely be fun. But I think drag shows are more of a celebration of freedom of identity whereas beauty pageants seem to celebrate normative versions of beauty.
internationalcupcakebandit: Hmm interesting. Maybe you’re right! That’s makes a lot of sense. So, where do we go from here? That’s the real question. Do we try and stop beauty pageants all together or should we opt to try and make them “natural” like Miss America is? And not allow plastic surgery in hope for a more natural ideal? Or maybe these ideals are bad altogether!!
eszenyme: I don’t really know what we should do. I mean, what is the difference between altering your breasts to make them larger versus actually creating them during a sex change? If a transgendered person can get plastic surgery like breast augmentation, facial reconstruction, etc., to look more feminine, it seems to justify a “natural” woman altering her physical appearance. But then, doesn’t the question become, is the point of pageants just to see who can best become a real life Barbie?
internationalcupcakebandit: Ooh interesting point there! I think that if someone wants to alter their appearance they should be able to, it’s probably a right we should always have. I mean after all, it is our body. And focusing on being “natural” is probably just going to privilege certain “lucky” people over others.. I suppose the system is flawed all together. So an end to pageantry??
eszenyme: I don’t really know how to approach it. I think pageantry will be around for a long time. If it is going to exist, then I am glad it has become a platform for consciousness raising and awareness. Maybe this is the kind of discrepancy that will lead to other questioning. That, I can definitely get behind.
internationalcupcakebandit: Agreed! I hope this will make other people question this too. Skew the boundaries we have put on gender. It’s down to break downnnn! 😀