The Beauty Pageant Is Dead

Miss Universe is all business, no fun
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2010 10:51 AM CDT
The Beauty Pageant Is Dead
Contestants perform during the Miss Universe pageant, Monday, Aug. 23, 2010 in Las Vegas.   (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Beauty pageants used to be “a hoot and a holler and a half,” but last night’s Miss Universe competition hailed their death. “Even as a gay man, I couldn't find joy or fun in last night's monument to wax figurines and Donald Trump,” writes Louis Bayard on Salon. It was essentially one long commercial, played out “efficiently and relentlessly and, yes, joylessly,” Bayard continues. “This is business. There's no room on the balance sheet for lust. Or camp. Or grunge. Or even beauty.”

The Miss America pageant got serious (scholarships! improved lives!) and lost sponsors, but Trump’s Miss USA-Miss Universe franchise “has remained a principality of the flesh, where the currency is two-piece bikinis”—and it has the nonstop commercials to show for it. It’s become “a celebration of a company and the man behind it,” and that man’s reminder that “This is live TV, and anything can happen” is “a lie almost touching in its transparency.” Click here for more of Bayard’s thoughts—or here for the biggest Miss Universe controversies.
(More beauty pageant stories.)

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