Death of the Beauty Pageant

The most ungracefully-aged topic on the news today is, I would say, the Miss Universe pageant.

Beauty pageants almost seem like one of the relics of the post-War era.  Like scenes of checked red tablecloths with picnic baskets and shiny, beaming kids in jumpers.  It’s like a slice of Americana, reminsicent of a time when people wanted to be more wholesome and see a bastion of solidarity.  Yes, apparently symbolized by a collection of “global” beauties, to be sorted and ranked as the most beautiful in the world*.

We simply don’t need pageants anymore, as the universal body of telling us the standards of global beauty.  The real creme-de-la-creme beauties of the world don’t join beauty pageants, do they?  They’re in marketing departments of major luxury brands; they’re on runways; in international commercials.  A few of the most beautiful women are the world have probably turned to prostitution or are unwed mothers who couldn’t handle all the attention to their prettiness at 16.

The truth is, attractive women are everywhere, and we probably look more to TMZ than the Ms. Universe pageant to tell us who the most popularly beautiful women are on the planet, at the moment.

Bar Rafaeli
Katie Holmes-Cruise
Katy Perry - Rolling Stone
Miss Universe 2009 Contestants
She is beautiful, I don't discount that, you know.

And so, Mr. Trump, maybe you haven’t been engaging in consumer insighting for your production.  May I suggest that you do some qualitative research to help you establish the brand essence of your franchise.  “What are beauty pageants still for?”, you should ask.  In a world where more people are likely to tune in to the Oscars (Yes, the Christmas eve of that oh-so popular religion of the Westernized world called Celebrity).

Say, for example, just using my own opinion as a jump-off point, (as earlier said) that beauty pageants’ central need delivery is a wholesome feeling of global unity and old-time-y kitsch.  You could have just played that up instead of trying to “modernize” with risque body paint pictorials.

Because, if you really wanted to be more timely, you would have a “beauties of the world” awarding – involving a live modelling/performance/talent- or attitude-demonstration event, after scouring the internet, pooling the girls then having the judges and audiences discriminate who the winner is with a set of criteria.

Or, even better, a “Self-Promotion Awards” night, to embrace and celebrate the democratic/ participatory spirit of the time.  Where the most aggressive, most popular, most well-crafted marketers of themselves (whether on friendster, facebook, twitter, etc.) can have their little spot in traditional mass media as well.

*I assume that we understand that pageants can’t accurately represent the attractive females of the planet (or universe).  And, that the judges’ own heritage (panel composition) is skewed to the Caucasian race.


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