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.
For the full story, click here.
11 thoughts on “Miss Beautiful Morals: Saudia Arabia Holds Its Own Version of the Annual Beauty Contest”
The girls we see at 19-22 at this level of Pageant competition were very probably put on that track at the age of 2 and have spent their whole lives being molded into competitors by their parents. What does anyone think will come out of their mouths in response to a question? They have spent 24-7 their entire life learning how to compete and likely very little else.
It’s cruel to ask them questions and the judges know that. If parents aren’t going to be restrained from doing this to their children then there it ought to be part of the rules that the contestants are not allowed to be asked questions by anyone at any time.
Very well said Buddha!!
So Buddha has answered Mespos’ question, beauty is in space travel!
I’m sorry, but I quit paying attention to beauty contests when I was 11 and met my first group of professional models. No amount of pretty compensates for vapid and stupid. True, there are some out there that still act human, Heidi Klum comes to mind, but you basically ruin a person by telling them from a young age how “pretty” they are and, as a result, that they are somehow “special”. Burka or not, fake breasts or not, Perez “Why Am I Famous Again?” Hilton or not . . . I just don’t care about this particular human endeavor.
A counterproductive, ego-driven, vanity inducing waste of time that ruins what could be perfectly good people.
Pretty? There is no substitute for smart, funny and/or talented in my book. Why? Because of this fact: EVERYONE gets old and ugly and no one wants to have sex with them. While I’ll stipulate that sex is indeed one of the most fun of all human activities, placing a close third in my mind right after space travel (Oh do I want to go!) and driving sports cars (as meant to be driven – see Top Gear for clarification), what’s most important at “the end of the day” is finding a decent person who can carry on a conversation with who loves you for EXACTLY who you are – faults and all – and that you can reciprocate that affection.
The ability of humans to become awash in irony and self-parody appears to be boundless. In the Saudi instance it almost seems like the bare bones of a comedy routine. In the Miss California case it is the silliness of the whole beauty contest process.
Many years ago a friend invited me to go to a beauty contest,
of a quite minor nature, where his 16 year old sister was competing. I had never met the girl, but when I arrived at the parent’s home and was introduced she was quite homely. I went to the affair, of some 1,000 people, all family and friends of the contestants. I slowly realized that this poor girls parents had paid for the table of 12 we sat at and that the liquor setup on the table was extra. The girl finished way out of the money and the winner was not much more attractive.
My insight was that this was all a legal con game for getting proud parents and wishful young people to pay through the nose to compete. That realization has informed the way I’ve viewed such contest ever since. Though I must admit that back in my herbal usage days, Miss America and Miss USA supplied many moments of mirthful memories.
Oops, almost forgot this little gem:
Ms. Prejean’s insightful commentary on heterosexual marriage:
“Marriage is good,” Prejean said at a news conference announcing the ad campaign. “There is something special about unions of husband and wife. Unless we bring men and women together, children will not have mothers and fathers.”
Duh! I should have known that!
Me thinks you defend the pious Ms. Prejean too soon. Apparently her second place crown is in jeopardy for lying on her pageant application about those photos that were taken after the California pageant association paid for her breast augmentation surgery, though she claims it was much earlier. (No flat chested Calif. women in national pageants mind you) Pageant spokesperson Roger Neal says she broke multiple promises on the application/contract hence the uproar. Who’s setting up whom I wonder?
In both cases the objective of the competetion is to let all women know what it takes to conform in their respective society. I wish that no one would participate in any of these things–not as a contestent, judge or audience. These are attempts to homogenize both women and the rest of society. That anyone thinks these contests are worthwhile, shows just how authoritarian both our societies really are. The real “virtue” in each case in absolute obediance to social norms. We like to think the US is a place of great individuality but really, we are one of the most authoritarian places in the world. No wonder we get along with the Saudis so well. Just say NO!
I saw a great poster about “beauty” the other day. It showed a Barbie with the question, “are you done yet?” At each point on Barbie’s body was the price tag for various types of plastic surgery to “perfect” the “defect” actual women are told we have. On the bottom it said, “self-esteem–$0.00”.
“Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.” Now does that means beauty exists in the eye of the beholder, or that beauty is a deception that “lies” to the beholder?
The Saudi woman with the best morals… the American woman with the fittest body….
In both cases, you’re not saying a lot.
Kinda like picking the shortest NBA player or the wisest neocon.
Well heck, you could get Stevie Wonder to judge this one it should be a no brainer. How about Ray Charles too. Although they are blind they can probably be a better Judge of the corruption than most sight seeing ones.
The UAE not excepted.
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