By Corinne Love / Senior Staff Assistant
By Corinne Love / Senior Staff Assistant
Beauty pageants are known for a couple of things, and terrorism is not one of them.
Frankly, the new Miss USA is not a terrorist. Literally, nanoseconds after Rima Fakih (Miss Michigan) was crowned the 2010 Miss USA, the internet went a buzz with wild circulation.
From anonymous posters on Yahoo, to various blogs, netizens were calling foul that Fakih had won for reasons other than simply standing pretty.
Fakih, a Lebanese born immigrant, is perhaps the first pageant contestant of a Muslim background to win the competition.
Shortly after her win, some people unfairly claimed that her win was nothing short of a politically correct move on the behalf of Donald Trump.
That’s right, Donald Trump. Trump owns the Miss USA pageant, and it has been jokingly referred to as his competition for his next wife. Keep in mind this is the same Donald Trump who has a reality show where sort of famous celebrities are fired.
In the blink of an eye, photos of Fakih surfaced showcasing her participating in what seems to be a radio sponsored “pole dancing” contest.
There are rumors spreading that she has also appeared in a sleazy type of film production.
However, upon closer investigation sources have said that Fakih has retained her modesty by being fully clothed in both “salacious” exploits. Shady pictures and girls-gone-wild behavior at this point in time is almost synonymous with beauty pageants.
Audiences know if they don’t outright admit it, secretly that behind those super white veneer teeth and placated answers are young women.
These young women are growing up in an age where beauty is commodified as well as sexuality.
So, it shouldn’t be a surprise at all if some type of photo surfaces where possible Miss USA hopefuls are acting a bit “un-pageant” like.
After all, a casual visit through many a college student’s Facebook and one would be hard pressed not to find something that could be considered “incriminating.”
Prior to Fakih’s full clothed “stripper” charade, last year contestant Miss California Carrie Prejean had her very own incriminatory photo scandal.
Of course, Trump came to the rescue. Reaching further back than that, Vanessa Williams the epitome of class, lost her Miss America title due to naughty pictures resurfacing in the ‘80s. Fakih, for her part, deserves at least some leniency for managing to escape the scandal with all of her clothes on.
Yet stripper-lite photos aren’t the only elements that have caused such an uproar over what constitutes as superficiality on display, Fakih’s ethnic background has also generated buzz.
Amidst the current immigration reform pushing and pulling and United States relations with the Middle East, Fakih’s win comes at a very interesting moment in political history.
The Miss USA pageant does not shy away from current events, so the interview portion of the show helped.
In a question primed for a knee-jerk reaction, Morgan Elizabeth Woolard (Runner up Miss Oklahoma) stated in response to Arizona’s highly publicized Immigration Law that she is “a huge believer in states’ rights,” further adding, “I think it’s perfectly fine for Arizona to create that law, and I’m against illegal immigration. But I’m also against racial profiling, so I see both sides in this issue.”
Fakih’s question was by comparison, tame, as she was asked about her stance on birth control. In perhaps one of the better facepalm moments in the pageant’s history, Fakih commented that birth control was a “controlled substance.” The pageant is not celebrated for intellectual answers.
Conservative pundits across the nation like Michelle Malkin quickly pointed out that the contest had indeed been rigged and set up. All of this sounds too much like the plot of “Miss Congeniality.”
Many longtime viewers of the show, clearly disturbed by Fakih’s win, attributed her success as “pandering” to some unknown shady political agenda. They even went as far as to say that they would not watch the show ever again.
Comments on Yahoo News stories picked apart Fakih and more often than not delved into straightforward racism.
What’s troubling about Fakih’s win is not that she tripped during the broadcast (hey, it happens), nor her photos, it’s that her win is going to be forever questioned with an ulterior motive.
For a show that’s supposedly based on beauty, poise, and grace, the developments following are anything but. Taken at face value, Fakih’s win might be a sign that maybe the conventional beauty standards are changing.
No controversy about that.