I like that you are putting an unpopular opinion out there and sharing your vantage point. That’s brave.

Man, do I love a good opposition piece. I wanted so badly to walk away from this read with a new perspective. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. However, I do think I can offer you some insight into the growing concerns surrounding beauty pageants and clarify some misconceptions I gleaned from your article.

First and foremost, feminists don’t take issue with individual contestants…they take issue with beauty pageants as an institution. Participate all you like…you get to glorify your thing and feminists get to glorify theirs. Yay for women! God bless the First Amendment.

Here are a few of the concerns that “modern-day feminists” have with pageants that weren’t addressed in your article, the “roots” of which I can assure you have been “well-considered”.

*Pageants are a sexist product of our (well-studied) patriarchal history.

*They promote very narrow beauty standards that value appearance first and intelligence second (or third or 26th), to the detriment of not only the women participating, but to women as a whole.

*They promote a narrow view of femininity and “purity”, as I’m sure you know that Miss America and Miss Universe are not allowed to be married or previously married, have ever been pregnant, nor have any children.

*They promote subtle racism with the homogenization of beauty ideals.

*They praise women for not taking up too much space and for only speaking when prompted to.

*The winners are exploited, their behavior heavily controlled, and they are publically shamed if they don’t tow the the line.

And those are just a few…

Show me a “scholarship competition” for men with rules like this:

https://www.thetalko.com/16-rules-miss-america-pageant-contestants-have-to-follow/

Here’s a point you made that I liked: body autonomy. This seems to be the “feminist” position you are taking in your defense of pageants — that women should be able to do what they want with their bodies and that includes participate in pageants. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a “modern-day” feminist who doesn’t support that concept. If you don’t agree that a woman’s body is hers to do with as she pleases, then you aren’t a feminist. Full stop.

I researched this heavily and couldn’t find any evidence of “demonizing” contestants (aside from a few shitty comments in the comments sections of publications that, let’s not forget, were specifically made as a repository for shitty comments.) If investing your time, energy, and resources in these competitions works for you, more power to you. I don’t think anyone would dispute your right to participate. Along the same vein, you have to respect that more and more people are choosing not to support the pageant industry because of its throwback mentality that was damaging to women back in the day, and remains damaging to them now. Waning interest does not a “anti-pageantry movement” make.

I look forward to the day you receive your Nobel Prize, beautiful girl. I’m hoping you have the world on its knees, slack-jawed and grateful for the thousands of hours you spent in the lab leading up to your ground-breaking research that will change humanity for the better.

I’m also hoping they won’t give two shits about how well you walk across that stage in your heels to receive the award.

Mama, writer, lover, fighter — I wear my heart on my sleeve because my pants pockets are too small. www.ajkaywriter.com

Mama, writer, lover, fighter — I wear my heart on my sleeve because my pants pockets are too small. www.ajkaywriter.com