Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Miss America Pageant: America’s Superwoman?

After discussing comic book super women in class, I began thinking about women in today’s society that serve as public role models for other women. I came across Miss America and started to research what she stands for and the competition in which she was selected as winner. According to the, Miss America travels the nation educating others about national issues and speaking about public service. She serves as a role model to American women of all ages and represents “a real combination of beauty, grace, and intelligence, artistic and refined”. The Miss America Organization provides the winner with scholarship money to achieve their career and service aspirations.

One woman to represent the entire nation, serve as a role model for all women and promote wellbeing seems rather idealistic. I thought how does this organization judge the women participating in this competition to find this “superwoman”.

When I discovered the categories that the women are judged upon, I lost any faith that I previously had in this competition to find the real “superwoman”. The categories are the interview, talent performance, onstage question, and the swimsuit and eveningwear section. All of the talents in the 2012 competition consisted of either a vocal or dance performance. The swimsuit section of the competition I found to be a complete joke and I have posted the video along with this commentary. The way the competitors are portrayed in this video reminded me of the way in which woman superheroes were illustrated in the comics we have read in class.  The swimsuit section is supposed to represent fitness and lifestyle but it really demonstrates that this is a competition based on beauty.

The quest for one superwoman should be left up to the comic book authors. In reality, not one woman should be left to represent an entire nation. Each individual woman should do her best to represent herself in a positive way and contribute to the good of society. Together we can collectivity inspire others to do good around the world. 


  1. It's funny because the name of the title "Miss America" itself could very well be the name of a comic book super-heroine, almost like a female version of Captain America or something. The pageants have also greatly died down in popularity, probably for the reason that they do mock the female image in an age filled with many more feminist values than past times.

  2. You raised a good point in your blog post. I think the Miss American pageant shows just how superficial America is as a whole. It is sad that we are willing to let somebody represent us based on the fact that they are pretty and talented. Things like Education and Philanthropic acts no longer matter.

    So I would have to agree with you, I don’t want a Miss America, or a Superwoman to represent me, I think I do a pretty fine job of that myself.

  3. It's true that Miss America pageants are not the best place to find role models, but it got me thinking: is there any kind of national contest winners we do look up to? The new American Idol is sure to be a household name for at least a week, but do we really idolize them? I doubt that kids look at them and think "I want to grow up to be like that."

    It seems that in recent years, there has been a distinct lack of role models. Kids don't look at their box of Wheaties to see the smiling face of an Olympian who can serve as a shining example of what any boy or girl could grow up to be. It seems that even Olympic athletes fail to be relevant; Michael Phelps is amazing, but he seems more like just a college athlete who happens to be ridiculously fast, not the All-American hero that inspires kids.

  4. Firstly, I really like your last analysis on every woman being who they want to be; and I would agree that one woman could and should not attempt to represent the entire nation, but that doesn't mean Miss America is bad. I personally love to watch the pageants. The last comment is about not really idolizing people, but is there anything wrong with idolizing the Miss American women. I actually know Miss Wisconsin from last year, and I did look up to her as a kid. Who wouldn't want to be beautiful, poised, fit (which is what the swimsuit section is for), heavily involved in the community and their own education, and able to answer current topic questions.
    I agree with everyone saying that I don't need someone to represent me, but is it really wrong to look up to the amazing qualities and success of these women?

  5. I find Maggie's comment really interesting. It's easy to criticize Miss America for being sexist, especially when there are so many stereotypes about beauty pageants being superficial and full of "dumb blondes" but the fact that these women are well rounded, and informed citizens as well as physically fit are amiable attributes. I think in respect to comics, the images of the super heroines coincides with this. Yes at times the spandex, and revealing costumes are over the top, but when it comes down to it they show strong, beautiful women. The qualities portrayed in both super heroines and the Miss America contestants, don't represent everyone, and frankly don't try to, but that doesn't mean that they aren't something to look up to.


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