By JAMILA RIZVI
The world’s eyes are on American beauty pageants. Again.
And this time we’re covering our mouths to stifle giggles after a contestant from Utah completely and utterly embarrassed herself. In response to a question about the gender pay gap, 21-year-old Marissa Powell, gave the following incomprehensible answer:
Cue: Laughter. Fun-poking. Stupid-girl-shaming. Twitter disdain. Cruel memes. Viral hilarity.
There goes Miss Utah, being all dumb and pretty again. What. An. Idiot.
She’s probably never bothered to think deeply about anything at all. She clearly doesn’t understand the causative factors of the gender pay gap and its far reaching societal consequences. She probably can’t even SPELL hetero-normative patriarchy. AMIRRIGHT PEOPLE?
[Insert retrospective sarcasm font].
Is it just me or have we completely divorced this young woman and her inelegant answer from the context in which they exist? Marissa is not a politician responsible for implementing microeconomic reform that will better support opportunities for women. Nor is Marissa a feminist rights academic, who has studied the impact of gender stereotyping on women’s ongoing dominance in the domestic and child rearing sphere.
Marissa is a beauty queen. Not Hillary Clinton. She doesn’t present herself as having all the answers to the world’s problems. So why should she be expected to speak eloquently about them?
Marissa is an attractive woman, who wants to do some charity work and hopefully win the illustrious honour of wearing a plastic tiara. Now that might not be my aim or your aim, but that doesn’t mean we get to bathe gleefully in her internet humiliation, pointing and laughing at her for being ‘stupid’.
Marissa may have struggled to answer for any number of reasons.
She may have struggled to answer because being on stage in front of thousands of people can be extremely scary. She may have been expecting one question and got another, leaving her tongue tied and a little muddled. She may have been distracted because the lights were really bright and her dress was too tight (entirely possible).
OR she may have struggled to answer because the question itself DIDN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.
“A recent report shows that in 40 per cent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?” Marissa was asked.