For women, life is a beauty pageant
Miss America may have given up its swimsuit competition, said Bari Weiss, but American women are still “living inside a beauty pageant.” The only reason the pageant—or rather, the “competition,” as it’s now called—did away with young women strutting the stage in bikinis “is that it’s simply too explicit for our euphemistic era.” Today, enlightened men pretend not to judge women on their appearance, and women tell each other we don’t care how we look. But our culture still relentlessly objectifies women. Women seek to be “super fit” with hours of Pilates, yoga, and Soul Cycle, avoid carbs, and live on salads and smoothies. To impress men and other women, “we wear stilts to hike around concrete jungles and lie about how they are anything other than medieval torture devices.” We get body hair waxed off, and spend hundreds on beauty routines and makeup and hair. Say this about Miss America’s now-defunct swimsuit competition, with young women parading around “in stilettos and tiny squares of nylon held up by string”: At least it was honest. The contestants were being “watched and scrutinized and judged,” just as women are in the real world every day.