Posted in Body Politics, Commentary

Wish they all could be California Girls (Potentially NSFW photo after the cut)

It seems that Carrie Prejean is in danger of losing her Miss California crown NOT for being against same-sex marriage, but for (in part) having broken the morals clause of her contract in posing for topless photos.  She claims she did it underage, which seems to me to have been a desperate bid to avoid their being published, (but if that’s the case, someone’s in trouble for child pornography, as far as I’m concerned.)  In any event, the pictures are out there now, and she’s busy doing damage control.

Can someone explain to me the substantive difference between these 2 pictures?

In both instances, Prejean is wearing hardly anything, showing a great deal of skin.  She is also showing about the same amount of bare boob in both, albeit different sections.  The first image was deemed appropriate for broadcast on national television; the second cropped up from the vaults of someone, maybe the photographer, who wanted a piece of Prejean’s 15 minutes and posted it to the internet.

In any case, I really don’t understand the stance of the Miss California pageant regarding these “racy” photos.  When you put on a beauty pageant, where one of the key and enduring features of the event is putting itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny-bikini-clad young women on parade for the enjoyment, approval, and judgment of others, how do you imagine you possess any kind of moral high ground to scold those same young women for doing the same on their own?  The picture on the left, from the Miss America pageant, is okay, supposedly wholesome and empowering, but the second image is that of a bold sinner of loose, if not absent, morality?  On what planet does that compute?

This is a problem of women’s—all women’s—bodies being public property.  We are told that we can be naked and sexual when some other authority tells us we can be, for their use and pleasure or business, and there will be various authorities who will conflict as to when that is, and it is your job to please all of them all of the time.  If you don’t, you will feel the full wrath of the puritans and the feminists, your mother and your mailman, and everyone in between.  Count on it.

Seems to me that if one finds the second picture distasteful in principle, then one ought to find the first equally problematic.  And instead of Carrie Prejean defending herself by saying she was (too) young and foolish when she took the topless shots, she should, by rights, come out swinging against our society’s sexual hypocrisy, the result of repression and body fear, combined with a long history of misogyny.  Or she should ask why, in the face of a woman expressing a moral opinion (whether one agrees with her or not), someone comes out of the woodwork to discredit her argument not through the use of logos and ethos, but by essentially branding her a slut (one who poses for scandalous pictures the American public can’t stop looking at) whose opinion, naturally, doesn’t count.

Of course, that’s probably too much to expect from a beautiful young blonde woman who got breast implants (paid for by the Miss California pageant) to engage more successfully in competitive bikini- and evening gown-wearing.   Having drunk the Kool-aid from birth and not put the cup down yet, she is all in to the culture that is now tearing her apart for her willing compliance.  I think societal obedience often creates more victims than victors, as Carrie Prejean is poised to learn.  I doubt she even understands what’s really happening here; but she should be angry.   We all should.

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Author:

I've been doing some form of creative writing since 9th grade, and have been a blogger since 2003. Like most bloggers, I've quit blogging multiple times. But the words always come back, asking to be written down, and they pester me if I don't. So here we are. Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Wish they all could be California Girls (Potentially NSFW photo after the cut)

  1. You’re right, there’s a disparity in how the pictures are viewed and judged. It doesn’t matter to me that she posed for risque pictures, I don’t have to look at them if I don’t want.

    What does confuse me is judging women as beautiful (besides just their face) because of fake breasts. The insinuation is that women are only worthy if we expend thousands of dollars on making ourselves into something else–all because our natural selves are deemed unworthy. Apparently it’s better if we’re plastic fantastic as opposed to real. I just don’t get that. It’s sad.

  2. I agree, although I believe she’s a victim of her culture. All women are, and it takes a lot to turn your back on the messages and be authentically who you are, if you can even figure that out among the cacophony of voices trying to tell you who that should be. She’s 21 years old and has the good fortune to be beautiful, which no doubt has eased her way so much over the years that she has no sense that she walks through life with this privilege, which is both bestowed and taken away. Even the supposedly most beautiful woman in the country isn’t beautiful enough, and thinks she has to cut her body up to please the invisible audience. Those of us who aren’t Miss USA-beautiful run into this wall sooner in our lives, and then we spend a good deal of our lives fighting to change ourselves to fit this standard, however mutable and unreasonable. Only some wise up and say “fuckit–it’s the standard that’s wrong, not me.” It’s an act of revolution we don’t make often enough, and we don’t teach our daughters and sisters to do it, either; we just mindlessly enforce the status quo.

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