Pretty Little Liars: Why Miss Universe Should Go Off Air


Pretty Little Liars: Why Miss Universe Should Go Off Air

Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré


t’s the year 2017; Honda has just announced that by 2022 it will have electric cars that charge in 15 minutes, Japan is in the process of replacing real human interaction with robots, and Miss South Africa has just won a contest that judged her to be most beautiful person in the universe basis her ability to twirl, sashay, and pout better than 90 other gorgeous women who are possibly aspiring doctors, lawyers and entrepreneurs, but now stand reduced to a measurement statistic.

Is there some reason that the Miss Universe beauty pageant still exists? As if the world didn’t have enough outlets for casual sexism today, we have somehow decided to retain a pageant from the days of World War II as a reminder that women are still expected to dress up and look pretty in the hope that the crowd will give them a round of applause and some whistles.

Miss Universe is the most dishonest talent hunting show in the world. It claims to pit the most well-rounded woman of each country against each other. But it always ends up looking more like a wet T-shirt contest with a patriotic sash, and we fool ourselves into thinking we’re rooting for more than just physical beauty.

We’re not. Let’s face it, anything owned by Donald Trump for nearly 20 years is not judging women on any parameter other than how hot they are in different “looks”. The men of Mr Universe are expected to lift a stupid amount of weights, and flex each part of their body till their veins look like a map of the Delhi metro. At least that is one, very specific skill they are asked to showcase.

An astute reader will at this point in the debate bring up the “questions”. Most questions on world peace and hunger don’t even pretend to be anything more than sound bytes. A few are downright insulting.  Take for instance a question asked in 1969, when people were advanced enough to go to the moon: “If a man flew down from the moon into your hometown, what would you do to entertain him.” The only correct answer to this is presumably, “Whatever he wants me too, baby.”

The problem with the “beauty pageant” is no matter how hard it tries to be well-rounded, it will never convince us that it is not specifically designed to whittle it’s contestants down to one dimension. If it were, we’d have more Miss Universes & Miss Worlds solving climate change instead of inaugurating bakeries before fading out of everyone’s memory. Some of these women are competitive swimmers, others are excellent photographers, heck some are even industrial engineers, but once they enter the Miss Universe room they’re all the same —  beautiful women who for some reason are expected to be experts in foreign policy.