Poor Miss Teen South Carolina. She went from being a beauty pageant contestant (which is bad enough) to a national joke. But, I submit that her answer was only slightly dumber than the question--"A fifth of Americans cannot locate the U.S. on a World Map. Why is that?" Is there really a question in there? Seems rhetorical to me, kind of like when I ask my husband, "Are you a moron?" after discovering he has fed our three year old candy worms for breakfast. The question is the answer-yes, he is a moron. Americans cannot point to their own country on a map because they're stupid. And they're stupid b/c education and educators aren't really valued no matter what politicians in Washington tell all of us stupid Americans. The answer is so obvious it's silly.
I'm sure Miss Teen S.C. was confused by the simple mindedness of the question as she expected something challenging about time travel and worm holes. Beauty pageant contestants are experts in quantum physics. Once they figured out how to conquer gravity with double sided tape, time travel was easy to crack.
Don't get me wrong- I love beauty pageants. The cheesy hosts, the contrived musical numbers, the beaded gowns! When I was a kid my mom, Gim and I would watch the fifty contestant hopefuls cruising down the catwalk with a mixture of awe and horror. There's something creepy about amazon women dressed in U.S.A. themed costumes and singing Yankee Doodle. Yikes.
My favorite part of the pageant was mocking each state's representative (except Miss Texas, of course) in each bogus category. Beauty pageants are where I honed my caustic wit and judgmental humor. But even as I made fun of these shiny faced, big bosomed, puffy haired ladies I admired their slim physiques and long, long legs. Though some might have been sea hags from the neck up, they all had great bods, and as a chubby kid I was fascinated and envious. Though I told myself that even if I were pageant material I would never lower myself to compete for best butt cheeks or best boobies. O.k., maybe best boobies.
I'm sure pageant girls have good reasons for being pageant girls. Scholarships, prize money, sparkly crowns, are all pretty good reasons, but I would think it's very hard for the average woman to relate to the average beauty contestant. I see scotch tape and think--"I gotta tape the plastic handle back on my kid's teapot." Pageant girl sees scotch tape and thinks, "I gotta tape my swimsuit to my ass." I see Vaseline and try to remember if this is the one I use for butt thermometers. Pageant girl sees Vaseline and automatically slops some on her teeth for a brilliant smile. And the last time I wore high heels while wearing a swim suit was..uh...never.
Despite my snarky attitude toward pageantry, I am feeling sorry for Miss Teen South Carolina. It's terrible to be judged on your worst moment. If a camera had been on me any one of the six times I've left a restroom with my skirt tucked into my pantyhose I would be a Youtube victim of epic proportions. Or if any math test I ever took was published to the world I'd be viewed as borderline retarded.
These days even if you're not trying to be in the public eye you might very well wind up there. Girls that get drunk and flash their goods are one camera click away from the Internet. Consider the poor girl that thinks she's looking good, having a great time with friends, and unbeknownst to her the short skirt she's wearing keeps riding up, revealing her tampon string. Gross and embarrassing. It's a tough world out there with camera phones being aimed in every direction. Lucky for me when I was getting drunk and acting stupid cell phones barely made telephone calls much less took photos.
But I digress, back to Miss Teen S.C. Even though she chose to be in the spot light and answered one of the dumbest questions ever asked with a halting serenade to stupidity, I feel sorry for her. No one should be so easily mocked (thanks again to youtube and aspiring directors) or so quickly eviscerated by the media. Poor little dummie had to appear on Good Morning America to explain how she isn't really dumb at all, just hard of hearing and slow-witted. Sure you are, honey.
I would like to point out that despite her dismal showing in the "question & answer" category, a.k.a. "we have brains, too" category, she still came in third. Clearly proving it's not how pretty you are on the inside, but how pretty you are on the outside that matters. At least in beauty pageants. And isn't that how it should be?