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The Weekly Cheek
The Weekly Cheek

Episode · 1 month ago

86. Can beauty pageants be feminist?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, we're talking about the new "progressive" rules for the Miss Universe competition.

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Hello, I'm Christin PARISONATO and I'm Hannah Ferguson and where CO founders of Cheek Media Co. This is the weekly Cheek podcast. Before we start the PODCAST, I'd like to tecknowledge that we are on stolen land of the Yager and trill with people here in the engine Um. This lamb was never seated and always was and always will be average nor land. Welcome back to the weekly welcome. Welcome. Oo. Okay, today we're going to talk about something we hate. When do we ever progressive thing? We like Queen. Seriously, today we like talking about the Matriarchy, which we love. Okay, today we're talking about the Miss Universe pageants announcements that they will be opening a competition in its seventy second years, so next year. Two women who are married, women who have oh my God, that's so progressive. They everywhere. They've been listening to us, they've been listening to our colts. Fuck you, childless, and I'm married. I've been waiting. What I mean is, I mean it's year old. That is so young. Your outcoin. I'm out. Excuse me, I've got two weeks to get onto it. No, I'm twenty eight. The competition is already in motion. You're out. Great does it? It literally doesn't affect me at all remotely. Well, I'm all youthful and fruitful and fresh, but is a very small gap. What if I entered for fun? Don't, you can't. It's not even fun. We'll see. This is actually I was going to save this for the end. How do you read my notes on this one? I'm not so bad today. I told you. That's why I read extensive notes. That's why I'm the CEO. Anyway, what I bring the fun and a lot of time I'm right. How about that? A lot of...

...the time you're right about content, which is why I'm the head of content. Oh Yeah, because you're always like make it more like this, and I'm like no, I do it and it goes super well. I'm like, who was that? We'll never know. We'll never know. Sometimes I write an article. What this happened one time. But it's funny if I say sometimes I wrote this article and then Hannah had demanded I write. By the way, sometimes I'm not the voice and I go and I say you must write on this because I can't, and I wrote on it and I was like it was like a different vibe for me and I was like weak. I did say go back and do it again. You came to talking about something else and I was like this is weak. Is what I said to you. This is a week, you're saying. So before we went off on that tangent, you were saying could I enter for fun? Yeah, my question do you is, can beauty pageants be reclaimed? Can They be reclaimed? Yes, obviously. That's what I've written in the notes. Obviously know that if to be reclaimed, actually it would have to fundamentally change from a beauty pageant. Well, it's no longer a beauty pageant. I thought it would be fun to reimagine a feminist version of a beauty and make it up right now. What would it be in it? So the current categories from MS Universe is three. Personality, or crazy girl, to be the absolutely it's actually where they quiz you on political things, and I ask you, that's like a personality? That's a quiz. Yeah, I know, it's a quitz. Second portion. That's actually the third portion. The first is evening gown, second is Bikini. Third is personality. So let's reimagine three categories and you know, what I would like to start by saying that a lot of the arguments for in favor of beauty pageants is about the scholarship that it offers to these women. Well, that's another thing I want to shock about. Is there anything positive? Okay, let's just take it one thing at a time, jumping because this makes us so ang called but dynamic durit. I just think. I just think it's so horrendous that anyone...

...who is like any level of progressive or thinks of themselves as a feminist actually wants to try and defend a beauty patchet. That is absurd to me. But I think the interesting thing about these sorts of topics is it it's where people argue that there's space for nuance and nuance. There is not. There's absolutely I am happy to look for nuance and I'm happy to look at like what the redeeming qualities or something are and how we apply it and how we forgive or redeem or progress people. But when it comes to be pageants, total annihilation is the only way forward, like there is nothing else, and you don't often say that. No, so this again from the nuanced queen. Am I fucking conservative, is that what you're sucking say, no, that you don't offer say cant or evil things. You're usually you usually say like, we can build on this and we can improve it, whereas I'm the one he's saying likes destroy it to the ground, and I'm like, well, let's give people a chance. Yes, UM, so feminist. Well, obviously wouldn't be called a batty pageant first category signmaking for a march. God, that's boring. Okay, so that was so nasty speech at a rally speech. Okay, because I think, and when I go to protests, there's usually every single speaker offers something different, and I think the way you are on the speech order really should throw a different vibe to your speech. You were excellent, queen. You would have succeeded in that portion of the competition, but I think writing a speech for a particular protest is a great way to test someone public speaking abilities, wowing a crowd in a particular way, activating, radicalizing, mobilizing people. Yes, incredible. Agree. Is that the first one? No, that's that's I was gonna say. That's the last one, isn't it? It's also you want to be...

...a portion. It's like writing an essay or something. We don't want to do something like that. I think we will test people's abilities to think on the spot. Yes, I think the first one would be like, what about like running some sort of fundraiser? Okay, so it's like it can be any you can run for anything charity of your choice. It's not about how much money you raise, it's kind of just about how you do it, how you market it, more of like a networking social activism add because you're perspective, running a campaign. What about responding to conservative talking points, like a q and a yeah, that would be incredible. Yeah, Oh, yes, a q and a panelist, and you've got someone like Um Andrew Bolt or like pbo. There's still favors. Are Really Front facing activist type. But if, but if we're modeling it off a beauty page, and I think that's going to be the point anyway, I would definitely apply to compete something like that. I well, I think another question, just to funk this all up, is like, is that even a feminist thing to do, not really to compete? No, absolutely not. The most feminist I think that's the fundament. One of the Kunda mental arguments against beauty pageants is like the whole concept is too pigeonhole women and to pit them against each other and pit them against each other for the male gates. Yes, literally, like how how can you be the best for men and for what? Patriarchy is defined as being a woman, and that's just like the worst of both worlds. How do you feel about when they try to put diversity in things like that? Well, it's not. It's Um, it's not trying to put put diversity like. I think that a lot of people say, like it's diverse because every country comes together universe. Well, no, that's the whole point of the competition and if you look at WHO's one, I'm sure they'll historically be some excute data. Yeah, I'm not actually sure that that's a big claim from me. I'd be shocked. I'd be shocked. But I think like the whole design of the competition is that someone from every country. So I don't think that, like, I don't think they're like being diverse. I think the fundamental idea of the competition is just that's you know what I mean. Like, I don't think it's like evolved that way. Also, diversity for something that includes someone from every country actually does...

...look like body shape diversity, and like eight different ages, which I haven't done. Let's bring all the women of the world together to pit them against each other. Yeah, exactly. Were inequality where in Bikinis? Suck it up. Suck it up, all right. Someone commented this because Hannah wrote an article that was posted on our instagram and someone, a man, had a good point. I'm not shocking breaking kidding. We don't really get much pushed back when people when we say this, it's either no men are listening. I know. We know for a fact that ninth cent of our spotify spotify audiences. So a man commented something about like the rule, about the previous rule that we have now abolished due to great success of the men. It's move meant feel the wind lists are never happy with any I mean to be for this. At least one woman out there who's probably like, Oh, I could apply now, but, like I says, a really controversial before you go to this man's good point, I was strolling through the book section at big W as I do, because it's the best book section Um and I saw this book, and you'll probably know how I'm talking about most of you, and it was like a former Miss Universe Australia who wrote it, and it was like the cover was like find your light, like how to let your light shine and be yourself or whatever. And the thing is it's like each to their own in terms of if you've overcome struggle, you've overcome struggle. But I really, really, really, really fucking find it hard to look at that book and be like, you know what, I'm really going to get something out of former Miss Universe Australia telling me how to find my light because of her struggles that she's overcome. Like the most beautiful women in the world and absolutely have probably struggled, and I believe she has,...

...with disordered eating or eating disorders, and that is fucked and that is awful and I'm sorry, but the way that these these beautiful privileged white women put forward this narrative of like I've overcome so much, and it's like I'm sure you have, everyone does, but the scale with which you look through this lens as to your struggle is just like so different. And it comes back to choice feminism, because when we look at like pageants like Miss Universe, and we say like Oh, it's, you know, every it's a form of feminism because every woman's right to choose and have individual freedoms and individual choice and agency. Well know, because we've got people who are living with disability or people who are, you know, people of color or people in different minority groups who have roadblocks to even fucking existing. And then we're looking at the women who are like I'm competing against the most beautiful in the world the scholarship, and it's like, I'm sorry, but those struggles are different and they exist on a scale and they're much fucking smaller, and that's the facts. I know that my struggles are nothing compared to that of any percent of the world. We are the one percent, right. And the other thing is like, even though, because I think it always comes back to like well, pretty, pretty people can have problems too, of course. Of course. However, as Hannah said, asked us too, in the one percent, we're not going to run a fucking book about it. I'm going to run off. I have struggled so much. My parents didn't love each other when I was a baby. That's most of the world points. So true. This is the thing. Is, like we all have struggle. We're not disputing that, but it's just so rich, this idea of like, well, you know, these women have problems to blah, Blah Blah, and I'm like yes, but the world has also given them everything. Also, this might be controversial, Um, is when you say like, Oh, those women have problems, to a lot of them. A lot of those problems are from the Patriarchy which, Um, those women are upholding by being fun with beauty paget. Sorry, like you're literally like digging your own fucking grain. You're by competing in Miss University, you're probably subjecting yourself to the worst disorder eating of your life for a period of time. Yes, there's no way that you can. I do not think and actually...

I know someone who's competing at the moment, is top thirty in their country, and I've been watching her instagram and it's genuinely terrifying to me because her transformation. I'm like, you can't be well, yeah, like, you cannot. Anyway, that's aside. What's what's the good point? This man made stat this is this is the around the again. Former rules about you can't have Um, you can't enter if you are married. You can't enter if you have ever had a child. Is he said. Oh, is this about like a purity, like virginal type of thing? Yes, that's what I thought too. Okay, so in only the US removed their morality some of their morality clauses. They have morality clauses in the contracts. So like you couldn't have had an abortion before that. How would they check? While they fucking would within. But it's like there's different you know, there's and I'm sure what's like the bachelor, like I'm what I'm wondering what those rules are. They probably have unspoken rules in terms of their applicants and the actually, when you apply to go on the show you have to reveal your clothes sizes and the application form, I'm pretty sure off. But there's is probably more like covert. They would just like look you up and see if you've ever said anything that they don't want you to. Yeah, exactly. So it's like, is it a regulation or not? What's the difference? Still applied. But I think because Miss Universe is a competition, you have to like signing the doline that you've never done x, y Z. It's absolutely like a purity culture thing, and it's about Um, it's about but it's also about being like a single attainable woman, not attainable, unattainable, but like attainable for men. You're accessible and available to men exactly, because that's what the whole competition is about. And I know that, like, there's probably women who were judges. They can still like uphold those women can still uphold the Patriarchs and the judges of there is no judge of Miss Universe is a feminist. Sorry, you know, the only pageant I'm watching is the segment in Little Miss Unshine at the end faking love that ship. But yes, but even that was disturbing, of course, but that was the point. Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah, Um, when do you...

...think it'll get abolished? When do you think we'll actually see evolution? Will we see evolution or will we just see abolition? Well, I actually think the fact that they've changed these rules and like evolving with the Times actually means it's going to take longer to get abolished. Yes, because I didn't realize that that was those are the rules. Honestly, all I've done is a load us to the rules, exactly because I had no idea because I don't pay attention that because I've digged. Oh, the scholarship thing, we kind of brushed over that. So do you know how much money they get? No, okay, is it? Is it cash or I don't know. It's an opportunity because they do a lot of travel and sponsorships and networking with different groups. Yes, they also do a lot of I was looking at the Miss Universe Organization website. They do a lot of charity work, but it's promoted as being like that. That's the that's the front face of the organization and it's funning. Not, it's about being hot. Yeah, exactly. Also, it's like so steeped improved. So, Oh my God, the wickie how. There is a Wicki how on how to apply and compete in Miss Universe and it has like advice on how much makeup artists costed by the hour, how to remove your body hair. Is So strange. Fuck, not really any application advice, just like there are three segments of the competition and they make a point to say there's no no talent portion. Like you know how in other beauty pagents it's like they you know, she sings or she does Irish dancing, or she's a congeniality or she's an incredible essay writer with very many philosophical, intellectual, academic thoughts and qualifications. Loser, you're supposed to be supposed to be essay Oh my God, imagine just like a woman doing that portion just wearing a bikini, writing in it, say, like at the stage. It would be um anyway. So what we're talking about Um, this scholarship. I just think so, back to what...

...you were saying. You said that a lot of the like pushback on the critique from believers in Miss Universe say, well, it's actually a good thing because of the scholarship, which I just don't think is relevant at all, because you're getting the scholarship like by fucking clawing your way to the top of a mound, mounded heap of hot women in Bikinis to be like the Queen of the hot women. So I just don't really think that's like relevant at all. I just I really need to just talk about the personality segment again. Sorry. So, so is it like in Miss Congeniality when they like, when you talk about Um World Peace? I think it is. That is genuinely one it's like, I don't know. I think it's to that extent, but I think it's about current affairs and events. I just find it a bit strange. Why do they need them to know that stuff? Is because they're supposed to be like some kind of like U N type of Vibe? I don't know. I think so. I think the idea is like this scholarship, is that they have to have they I think what they're trying to do. It's almost raised it as a point of classism or something, of course, to be honest, because I do think that that it's like an evolution of like we do care about their personality. No, we don't want them to answer a few questions. There are a few famous throughout the years, like responses to these questions, like I've gone viral and things. It also reminds me of I think it was Steve, what's his name? The family, a few guys in the states who read out the wrong country as the winner. I thought there was a top one, top model. I think they did in the top model as well, actually the red and they did the Oscars as well. Yeah, very funny guys, real, isn't it? One accident, though, yeah, but it's happened so many times. It's just get views. Or do you think they have to do it on purpose? That is so mean. What the fun is that Guy's name? I mean, honestly, if you are in Miss University, deserve that. That's really not fair, because I think the the issue is,...

...like I don't think there's I don't think it's respectable to do the competition. I would never do it, but like these women are trained to do you don't. You don't think they're participants. I think it's a product of the system. I don't know that this is the one that we switch on at that level, that these women are like the most privileged of the privilege, and I think the issue is that they're so attached to the way they look. Like you're not attached to the way you look. No, but it's not about me, though. I just think that. Yeah, but I just think that to go to that level, for me it's always like yes, obviously this is like a patriarchal thing and it's not like tomorrow a woman is going to be like, I'm not going to miss some universe ever again. But I just think like to go to those lengths, like at some point we have to say you take the responsibility. I didn't get there's responsibility. But I also think it's interesting because I think if I was like the whole woman and, you know, was educated and thought I could sort of compete in something like this, I would be like interesting opportunity. And there there is scholarship. There is a lot to be one and gained from that. You're a public figure, you gain a lot of sponsorships. You basically can build a career out of this win or even being selected or top thirty. You're meeting so many people, the sponsorships, it's like going to the bachelor. How people can do that without going to Miss Universe? No, I know, but it's a it's a short, shure fire way to get there, but it's not sure fire at all because it's a competition with all of the hottest people in the world. But there's something to be enjoyed from that. For people who look like that, I think that's sick. I would find it disgusting because would be just so inadequate. I would just feel disgusting the whole time. I mean that's what the viewers are supposed to feel. I think these women must feel it about each other, like you're you're you're actually competing alongside these people and going to these events and doing it for like month at a time. It's quite a tour of your country and then to do Miss Universe as well. It's interesting because, like, are you friends? You're all competing to be the whole. There must be just...

...the most toxic environment to be working in. Yeah, it's like the Olympics, except times a million. Yeah, like the Olympics is just a sex fest. Yeah, that's what everyone's told. That's true. I don't know, though. They tried to ban it in the Japan and the last Olympics. That happened in one they were apparently there were no condoms given out, so and that was like to deter the sex. Okay, that's just going to promote the children ritually get with the Times. In summary, suck it off incredibly ever, found insight. It's not good. I just it just bothers me so much that they're like strategy around this is like we've listened and where going to make it more diverse. It's just crazy to me that those were the rules existing. I never thought about it before, which is kind of a testament to how little we engage with it. I think, and I think most people were shocked by the news because they were like, Oh, what, you didn't before? But it's also like not something I watched or have watched. I don't know anyone who what do it. I guess it's just something that comes up as a headline one day a year or whatever. But it's interesting because all they've done is alert us to the fact and cause to stir, allertus to the fact that they are decades behind. I wonder what they'll do next. Wonder what they'll do next. If you didn't find us a completely insufferable come back next Wednesday for a new episode. You could also find this on instagram at cheek media co or online at Cheek Media Dot Com. Dott you, yes, that's the one. That's the one.

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