The Total Irrelevance of Beauty Pageants


Rima Fakih, an Arab-American woman from Dearborn, Michigan, won the Miss USA contest this week so naturally, right-wing bloggers cry foul, some suggesting that she won because there’s an unwritten form of affirmative action taking place in these beauty pageants, while others go much further, claiming that Fakih is a Hezbollah propagandist.

I really don’t understand why anyone cares about this.  These are beauty pageants, not senatorial primaries (which just happened yesterday, by the way).  Other than Carrie Prejean — who gained notoriety not for winning the Miss USA pageant (she came in second), but rather for her response to her stance on gay marriage posited to her by Perez Hilton — name another recent beauty pageant winner without Googling it.

Uh, um.  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Prejean became infinitely more famous than the 2009 Miss USA winner (who, according to Wikipedia, is Kristen Dalton and will never be heard from again), licking her wounds by speaking at the Values Voters Summit 2009, appearing on cable news shows, and even writing a book!  Looks like losing Miss USA was probably the best thing that could’ve ever happened to her.

So, if the most recognizable recent beauty pageant winner is actually last year’s first loser, I’d say that the only reason we even remotely recognize the name Rima Fakih is because a bunch of Islamophobes decided to throw a temper tantrum over someone with dark skin beating out someone with white skin.  In what year are these whiners living, anyway — 1970?  Welcome to 2010, where five Muslims winning beauty pageants from around the world shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when 25% of humans on this planet are Muslim.

If anything, this development only supports the fact that most Muslims are assimilating into mainstream American culture, going so far as to take part in the uber-American spectacle of the Miss USA beauty pageant, which is about as far removed from the strict hardline lifestyle imposed by the Hezbollah as one can get.

Right-wingers should be rejoicing.



  1. Now dont be so sure they dissapear without trace! I run a small blog on American Political families and to my utter surprise ( I am British we do things differently) find that a large number of ladies in Congress are ex winners of beauty pageants. And they are Senators and Govs not lowly Reps. But better yet they are almost exclusively Republicans and not Democrats! Do you have a suggestion?

    • Good point. There’s also the crown jewel of beauty pageant success stories: Sarah Palin. However, I still stand by my point that no one remembers these women for being Miss San Marcos, for example; they just know her as Governor Jennifer Granholm. It’s usually a footnote, a Wikipedia factoid.

      There are always exceptions, but it makes sense that these women would then end up in politics, especially the politics of the current Republican party. It’s all about creating a squeaky clean image that’s impossible to uphold, pandering to so-called American traditions and values, and focusing on the superficial rather than the substantive aspects of the person.

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