Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wonder Why Wednesday: Miss USA

I watched Miss USA the other night and because it was on early, my kids were awake. People who know me probably find it odd that I watch this. I find it odd. I wonder why would I watch a beauty pageant:

1. I've always watched pageants. When I was little, I wanted to be in beauty pageants. My parents discouraged this.
2. I like society. I like the way society plays off little actions. Beauty pageants are part of our society and they are interesting when you look at them from a humanities point of view. I find the interactions between women and their beauty and perceived beauty and all that fascinating.
3. I would never be in a beauty pageant now, but I think people (as long as they don't harm someone) should do what makes them happy.

As I watch this, I wonder what my little girl thinks of the show. I wonder what my little boy thinks of the show. True, they are quite young, but I believe information gets through to them. Very few people look like those ladies in bikinis, mostly because everyone else works everyday while the contestants are at the gym. While I don't think I would ever flat out forbid a beauty pageant in my home, I wonder when I need to set the example of, "you know, that show is outdated. Girls don't really do that anymore. I don't feel like watching it." (This is the stuff I think about when I watch Miss USA).

I wonder at what point I need to say, "maybe we'll turn the television off" when they ask to watch it. If I do that, will they rebel? Should I let them watch it if they see fit? I wonder at what point I shape their gender roles and identities in society too much. Can parents do that too much? I wonder.