The image of women walking down the runway in burqas sound like something from a skit on Saturday Night Live, but Saudi Arabia has launched its answer to beauty contests — Miss Beautiful Morals. Beauty contests have been declared “Islamically unacceptable” so in this contest women compete for the most morally perfect women.
Pageant Founder Khadra al-Mubarak is quoted as saying that “The idea of the pageant is to measure the contestants’ commitment to Islamic morals… It’s an alternative to the calls for decadence in the other beauty contests that only take into account a woman’s body and looks.” We can forget the burqa competition.
For those committed to the superficiality of the Miss America competition, this is an outrage. After all, the whole point of the competition is to see women who work endlessly on the perfect tan and body tone explain how they want to cure world hunger.
In the Saudi competition, the women spend a day in a country house with their mothers under observation. Of course, what daughter could not be perfect for a day with mom? Strangely, the competition welcomes plump women but still restricts the competition to females between 15 and 25. It is not clear if women over 25 are without morals or morally perfect. Of course, with the closure of women’s workout facilities, it may make sense to emphasize morals over muscle.
In the meantime, Miss California Carrie Prejean has gotten into hot water over stating a moral position on the thoroughly amoral show. Judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, caused the fervor by asking the question. It is not clear whether this was a litmus test for his vote. Otherwise, it is not clear why a contestants personal moral views is relevant. Would Hilton like conservative judges to ask contestants moral questions to remove pro-gay contestants? If there was only one correct answer, the contestants should have been told that their moral and political views would be relevant. We could then seek to join the American and Saudi Arabian competitions. When Hilton asked Prejean whether she believed in gay marriage, she said “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.” Why is she not allowed to hold such a position and since when is a gossip blogger the judge of accepted morality for contestants?
She is now being attacked over semi-nude pictures that she took privately — insisting that she was being attacked for her moral views. For the pictures and original interview, click here. More pictures are now being claimed in what is becoming a virtual cottage industry. While I support same-sex marriage, I tend to be suspicious in all of the scrutiny over her application irregularities and pictures. There is some questions that have been raised over whether she was truthful on this application that could lead to the loss of her crown, here.
She has now enraged critics even further by appealing in an anti-gay marriage ad, here.
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