REX HUPPKE: Miss America swimsuit decision riles the man-o-sphere

By REX HUPPKE
Guest Columnist

(TNS) The online man-o-sphere became deeply agitated as organizers of the Miss America pageant announced that the event will no longer feature a swimsuit competition or judge contestants on their physical appearance.

There were shouts of liberals ruining Miss America, insulting jokes made about the intelligence of past contestants and deeply intellectual Twitter thoughts like this: “So men can be women, girls can be Boy Scouts and now big ugly heffers can be crowned Miss America…and you still question if we are heading to the end times apocalypse…”

Gretchen Carlson, the chairwoman of Miss America’s board of directors, announced the changes Tuesday on “Good Morning America”: “We are now open, inclusive and transparent, and I want to inspire thousands of young people across this country to come and be a part of our program. We want you and we want to celebrate your accomplishments and your talents and then we want to hand you scholarships.”

She also said: “We’re not going to judge you on your appearance because we are interested in what makes you you.”

That prompted the world’s foremost thought leader on gender issues, Piers Morgan, to weigh in with a column in the Daily Mail: “I’ve got some news for you, Gretchen: nobody on the entire planet cares what comes out of the mouths of Miss America contestants unless they say something so dumb it makes us laugh out loud. They’re not competing to see who is smartest, funniest, or most environmentally concerned. They’re there because they’re smoking hot.”

Turning up the man-o-meter to scaldingly sexist, Morgan continued: “Miss America’s decision today is absolutely ridiculous, and will be an inevitable ratings disaster. I’m afraid the harsh reality is that nobody’s going to watch a beauty pageant to see an assortment of ugly, 250lb contestants giving their views on world peace. Period.”

The overarching meninist point here is that Carlson and the other “radical feminists” on the Miss America board are suggesting that objectifying women is bad. And that makes strong, powerful, very secure men who use words like “hot” and “slut” and “knockers” while trolling women anonymously on the internet feel sad.

It’s almost as if nobody cares about the feelings of men who cling tightly to the view that a woman’s only intrinsic value is her physical appearance.

I can understand how changing an event that has historically centered around the objectification of women and bringing it more in line with the idea that women are living, breathing, intelligent, talented, remarkable humans might ruffle the man-feathers of deep-thinking birds like Morgan.

And I certainly think such men have a right to express their virile frustration and showcase their infantile intellect by suggesting that Miss America will now be “an assortment of ugly, 250lb contestants giving their views on world peace.” (I hope Mr. Morgan has room on his mantle for a Pulitzer.)

But it seems only fair to me that in order for anyone to take their opinions seriously, these men should first have to be judged.

By a globally televised audience.

While wearing Speedos.

Let Morgan and Random Internet Trolls 1 through 112,538 step onstage in little more than a loincloth and honor the world with a long, high-definition glimpse at their physique.

Before their views on beauty or talent are given an ounce of credence, let’s see their pasty flesh, their hairy backs, their muffin tops, their distended beer guts. Let’s see them walk the length of the stage, confidently waving, knowing that millions upon millions of people are studying every curve of their body and holding them to an unreachable standard of beauty while caring none whatsoever about their minds or personalities or any good they’ve done in the world.

Let them do that. Let them be judged and tweeted about and mockingly whistled at and trolled online for even the slightest blemish.

And then, once Piers Morgan or some other fine specimen of manliness has been crowned Mr. America and all the other contestants have felt the red-hot glare of an audience sizing them up like cuts of meat, then and only then will their opinions on what defines beauty be heard.

Such a show would be a ratings bonanza. Because I guarantee that millions would watch a beauty pageant to see an assortment of arrogant male contestants who talk fast and loose about female beauty get mocked while parading around onstage in Speedos, giving their opinions on world peace.

Rex Huppke is a Chicago Tribune columnist. Readers may send him email at rhuppke@chicagotribune.com.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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