Friday, January 25, 2008


When I was a little girl I remember loving to watch the Miss America pageant. In fact, the opening scene in Little Miss Sunshine, where Olive is watching the pageant and rehearsing the signature wave is a disturbingly nostalgic moment for me to watch. I, too, wanted to win a pageant and be a Beauty Queen when I was a little girl. But much like Olive, I didn't have what it took, even if I'd had the support of a druggie grandfather and absent-minded parents. By the time I was a pre-teen I'd figured out that I would never be tall enough or beautiful enough to be a beauty queen and turned my efforts to other pursuits.

That said, I still like to watch sometimes. It's fun to see beautiful women competing to see who is the most beautiful (whatever that really means). I really wish I had TV this season, though, to watch the TLC's Miss America: Reality check. I'm glad the pageant organizers aren't taking it too seriously. Of course, there are some who aren't happy about the satire, like Lois Elaine Smith-Zoll.

"I want them to be professional ladies," said Lois Elaine Smith-Zoll, a 70-year-old pageant volunteer from Vancouver, Washington, with 41 years of judging behind her. "They are mocking the old system. This young woman is going to represent our country, we want to be proud of her."

I can understand the desire to want the contestants to be ladies, and I am definitely glad that they take the position of role-model seriously. Really, though, if you want these young women to remain relevant to the tweens and teens of today, you're going to have to make them hip and cool, and a little more edgy. Decorum is great, but the young women of today need someone they'd like to hang out with, not just admire from a distance.

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