NYT celebrates a beauty contest limited to one skin color and one gender ID

“What Does It Mean to Be Crowned ‘Miss Juneteenth’?” (New York Times, June 14):

For contestants, it’s a pageant, yes, but also a place to celebrate Black sisterhood and promote a deeper understanding of a complex holiday.

In the month of June, as celebrations to commemorate the Juneteenth holiday begin, dozens of Black girls and women across the country will be competing for a singular title: Miss Juneteenth.

Yet for young Black women who earn the title, the honor is connected to a holiday that marks the emancipation of their ancestors. More than simply a crown, Miss Juneteenth holds deep meaning to these women, their families and their communities.

“It’s a reminder that I’m proudly Black and I’m happy about it and I’m strong,” she said. “A reminder that Black is beautiful. To be ourselves with the hate or without the hate that we experience. A reminder that we’re free. We’re here with a purpose.”

The rise of Miss Juneteenth pageants has come at a moment when Black contestants have met with remarkable success in more high-profile pageants. In 2019, the winners of the five most prominent pageants — Miss World, Miss Teen USA, Miss America, Miss USA and Miss Universe — were all Black.

The pageants, Ms. Sledge explained, focus on all facets of Black womanhood, from style to cultural contributions in music and dance. “Our young ladies are taught that in any room that they walk in, they belong there, regardless of who else is there.”

Ms. Glosson, who won the pageant in 1982, said she valued having a space designated for celebrating Black women.

The same newspaper informs us that gender ID is fluid and that there are more than 50 gender IDs. Why would they write favorably about an event based on gender binarism and the idea that gender ID is persistent? (We could ask the same question regarding beauty contests open to humans of all skin colors, such as Miss America. Why does it make sense to limit contestants to those with a single gender ID, e.g., those who can be addressed as “Miss”?)

MLK, Jr.:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Perhaps this contest meets the literal terms of MLK, Jr.’s dream? Since there is a pre-filter based on skin color the remaining contestants “will not be judged by the color of their skin”?

Separately, the Miss America folks proved to be prescient. On December 19, 2019, only three months before most of the world went into coronapanic, they awarded the title to Camille Schrier, who could be Dr. Fauci’s vastly better looking doppelgänger:

“Miss America can be a scientist and a scientist can be Miss America.”

In 2018, Camille graduated with honors from Virginia Tech with dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Biochemistry and Systems Biology, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University.

A certified Naloxone trainer in the city of Richmond, Schrier will use the Miss America national recognition to promote her own social impact initiative, Mind Your Meds: Drug Safety and Abuse Prevention from Pediatrics to Geriatrics.

(If you want to know why Naloxone is so critical to American well-being, read Who funded America’s opiate epidemic? You did.)

Related… “Victoria’s Secret Swaps Angels for ‘What Women Want.’ Will They Buy It?” (NYT, June 16): “The Victoria’s Secret Angels, those avatars of Barbie bodies and playboy reverie, are gone. … In their place are seven women famous for their achievements and not their proportions. They include Megan Rapinoe, the 35-year-old pink-haired soccer star and gender equity campaigner … the 29-year-old biracial model and inclusivity advocate Paloma Elsesser, who was the rare size 14 woman on the cover of Vogue…”

I wonder if this makes it tougher on Victoria’s Secret customers. In the past, all that the young ones had to do to look great, by the brand’s standards, was not eat more calories than their bodies burned. Now, however, Victoria’s Secret is telling customers that they need to be great athletes (though maybe not as great as 14-year-old cisgender boys? Also Australia’s women’s soccer team cannot reliably prevail over 14-year-old boys) or have great achievements, e.g., in advocating for Palestinians against the Jews.

7 thoughts on “NYT celebrates a beauty contest limited to one skin color and one gender ID

  1. So, according to the article, Black women are hated but they also won all Miss competitions in 2019?

    I also think “Miss America” should be “Mx. America”; for the swimsuit competition they could perhaps take a clue from male ballet outfits …

    • Anonymous: That’s a great point. “experience hate” is an inevitable consequence of identifying as a Black woman or girl, according to the NYT. Yet one panel of judges after another has awarded crowns to Black women and girls. Maybe the world of beauty pageants is a special hate-free zone? If so, wouldn’t it make sense to have beauty pageant organizers and judges take over responsibility for critical race theory and other re-education programs?

  2. Taking the long philosophical view, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that our society attempts to reward and reflect through its pageantry the things it wishes to see, according to the tastemakers who decide such things for us.

    “Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.” – Homer, The Iliad

    “There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.” – Homer, The Odyssey

    “Lisa: Do you remember why you entered me in that pageant?
    Homer: I dunno. Was I drunk?
    Lisa: Possibly. But the point is you wanted me to feel better about myself, and I do.
    Homer: Will you remember this the next time I wreck your life?
    Lisa: It’s a deal!” – Homer, The Simpsons

  3. Slightly off-topic, but perhaps illustrative: last night I decided to jot down some of the rules for CRT faculty members. I cribbed the list from the Hells Angels. Here they are, with a few minor edits:

    1) Don’t ask to join the CRT faculty – if they want you, they’ll select you
    2) Showing up for events is vital to your membership bid
    3) Only wear official CRT merchandise
    4) You can’t discuss missing CRT faculty with anyone
    5) Every CRT faculty group marks its territory – and the others have to respect it
    6) CRT faculty will fight other academic groups for territory
    7) You have to be willing to give back
    8) CRT faculty follow the Golden Rule
    9) Protect CR theory and praxis by any means necessary
    10) You’ll have to be ready to practice CRT – a lot
    11) You can only practice CRT
    12) It’s tough to start your own CRT faculty group charter, but it’s possible
    13) Don’t question their grammar
    14) There’s a dress code
    15) CRT faculty arrange themselves in a specific order
    16) You can’t join another faculty club
    17) CRT faculty don’t speak to the media
    18) The vests are considered sacred
    19) Membership hinges on a vote
    20) Before you’re in, you’re a prospect – and subject to hazing
    21) You can’t even link to the website without permission
    22) Say goodbye to any other hobbies
    23) No one in law enforcement can join
    24) Interrupting a meeting could cost you
    25) Never rat out a fellow CRT practitioner
    26) Substance abuse is strictly prohibited
    27) When the cops pull one member over, they all pull over
    28) You can’t retire
    29) Rule-breaking comes with serious consequences
    30) Strictly no women allowed

    I’m not so sure about #18 and #26, and #30 is not true as long as you recognize the other 149 genders, but otherwise, it’s pretty close. I don’t know how Kantian they are in praxis, though.

    • When I was a kid, my mom asked a group of Hell’s Angels for directions when we were lost in the PA countryside. They looked at her in disbelief and roared off in dismay.

    • @Bill: Maybe she corrected their grammar and told them they were missing the apostrophe. They know.

    • @Bill: On the other hand, it’s entirely possible they didn’t know where they were or where exactly they were going, either. It’s a good bet that many of them at the time were fans of Creedence Clearwater Revival, whose 1971 song “Sweet Hitch-Hiker” surely ranks in the Top 5 “Most Indecipherable Classic Rock and Roll Songs” of all time.


      “Wuz raaah dingdong alongda hah weh….rollin’ witda koochie gah…”

      So one never can tell, lol.

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