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The New Miss Universe Thinks We're Post-Feminism

Stefania Fernandez, the 18-year-old Miss. Venezuela, won the 2009 Miss Universe crown on Sunday. 

Normally, I'd probably just sigh and say something sassy. To me, the reasons why beauty pageants are sexist/anti-feminist and just plain stupid are pretty freakin obvious-- such as blatant objectification and valuing beauty above all else. Again, the self-esteem excuse is complete crap. If being judged almost entirely on the way you look is building your self-esteem, well all I'll say is there's a hella lot more you could be proud of yourself for than something (like looks) that is mostly beyond your control. I say mostly because I guess starvation, hair removal, and the use of excessive makeup could be in your control, but that's a WHOLE other story. 

I didn't watch the pageant. So when fbomb reader Katherine sent me this yahoo article about the Miss Universe pageant...well, I was rather pissed off. 

During the question and answer segment, Fernandez said that she believes men and women are equal, stating, "I feel we have reached the level that men are at."

When asked how she thought beauty contests promoted equality between men and women (doesn't the fact that they asked that question that way say so much in and of itself?) Fernandez responded, "We have quite a following worldwide. We are models to follow."

I find this absolutely fascinating for several reasons. 

1) She's From Venezuela 

Of the entire Venezuelan workforce, only 31.9% are women, and of those with work 63.8% receive an income of less than 500 Bolivares per month ($260 at the official exchange rate, $120 at unofficial). Venezuela also has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in Latin America and the Caribbean, and around 5 women are killed weekly in gender related violence. (Venezuelanalysis)

And that's just her own country. 

Also, Zuleika L. once posted right here on the fbomb about her views of feminism in Venezuela. Her opinion was a little different than Fernandez's. 

2) Having a Following = Equality

I don't understand that argument. Just because people are watching you doesn't mean that they, in the very least, look up to you, which is what I think she was getting at. I think perhaps she just doesn't have any concept of what real issues are, and what real role models are. I'm supposed to look up to you because you look good in a bikini and can (sort of...not really) ANSWER a couple of questions? I'm sorry...why? 

3) This Performance Took Place at this Pageant 

Yeah girls. Who needs feminism when you can just grow up to be on a reality TV show (do nothing), and then move on into the world of talentless pop stars? It's even high-school-education-optional! We truly are blessed as women to have these kinds of options. 

So, yeah, that comment pissed me off JUST A LITTLE bit. Again, the idea that we don't need feminism anymore (...we do...) and the whole idea of girls looking up to beauty contestants when there are so many other WORTHY role models. 

You know what's cool? Using your brain. That's what's up.



More articles in WMC FBomb by Category: Body image and body standards, Feminism, International, Media
More articles in WMC FBomb by Tag: Activism and advocacy, Women's leadership, Social media, Sexism, News, Americas
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Julie Zeilinger
Founding Editor of The WMC FBomb
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