Popping pills in your high heels
January 27, 2006
“When we lose twenty pounds… we may be losing the twenty best pounds we have! We may be losing the pounds that contain our genius, our humanity, our love and honesty.” ~Woody Allen I feel like I’ve been christened, invited into a secret society for the elite. I’ve grown up, I’ve finally become a woman … I’ve watched my very first Mrs. America pageant. But I didn’t do it without rolling my eyes a dozen or so times, and saying “I’m so sure,” just like I did when I was a teenager. So maybe I really haven’t grown up. I actually meant to watch the MISS America pageant live from Las Vegas. I actually reserved my Saturday night for this event (ok, I HAVE grown up or I’ve just gotten extremely boring in my third decade on this earth). So I settled in, turned on the TV and saw no sign of Miss America on any of the major networks. Finally, I found it in the 200 numbered channels just as the contestants were making their grand appearance in their elaborate costumes. It turns out I was watching the MRS. America pageant, which explains my confusion why all the footage showed the contestants in Palm Springs instead of Vegas. Miss. America, Mrs. America, same thing to me so let’s put this beauty faux pas behind us and move on. The first of many eye rolls came on immediately while viewing the costumes. “Costume” is not really the appropriate choice of words, it was more like a parade of walking floats with all the ornamentation these poor ladies had strapped to themselves. For example, Mrs. Hawaii was a tropical rain forest with palm trees, exotic parrots, and all kinds of wacky foliage and critters attached to her backside. Mrs. Iowa was a giant stalk of wheat and my personal favorite, Mrs. Maine was dressed as a moose, yes, as in the 500-pound mammal. A quick hint to the producers … the brown, furry antlers are not so appealing in a beauty competition. The only thing I can imagine less flattering for these ladies would be to dress up as a fruit-of-the-loom character. Oh wait, Mrs. New York was indeed clad in the full on fruit-of-the-loom-type apple costume. My reason for watching this spectacle was actually for a little curious project on how healthy this really is for young girls to be taking these out-of-date beauty contests seriously not only as participants, but as spectators. Viewing these ladies with perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect bodies, not to mention their talents most often relying on an equally perfect voice, rhythm or ear for music. Miss America is in definite need of modernization for the sake of young girls everywhere. We are in the new millennium and I had high hopes for the talent portion of the show.Surely we’ve outgrown the opera singing, violin playing, ballet-dancing era in the talent show. I expected nothing less than a beautiful girl flying onto stage ripping a couple 360s on her skateboard and finishing up by pulling a sick ollie over a fellow contestant. Or perhaps a climbing wall on stage with a young lady with ripped biceps clawing her way up a 5.12 rated climbing wall? Or in the very least, a stylish camo-wearing beauty with a rifle slung over her backside sporting her skills in skeet shooting. No such luck. No wonder the pageant’s ratings are suffering. Aren’t we all a little bored with the perfect woman who wears high heels in a swimsuit? Where are the Tevas and Reef flip-flops? The most disappointing portion of the contest didn’t really have to do much with the contest at all but with the choice of sponsors. Early in the pageant, they awarded the first “very important” award, the $2000 “TrimSpa Challenge” award for the “most compelling weight loss story.” That was not the only time that the “official dietary supplement of Mrs. America” was mentioned. The “official dietary supplement” whose side effects include elevating the heart rate to a highly dangerous level (possibly causing death), chest pain or vomiting, and may induce swelling and blockages of the throat or esophagus. Ah hah! Well, who wouldn’t lose 64 pounds with a blockage in the throat?Although TrimSpa was featured as the “critical element for the quest to the crown,” it was not alone in its quest to influence young girls everywhere to begin their quest to the crown by taking harmful supplements. Other advertisers included “Tight,” the “most incredible fat burning formula available,” the dietary supplement “Fahrenheit,” “Trimune,” an immune system booster primarily used in HIV patients, and various birth control methods. Well, that about blows my pure and goddess image of Mrs. America!Finally we came down to the final 10 contestants where we got to learn a bit more about these ladies than what kind of fat burning, vomiting inducing pills they were taking. Mrs. Georgia enjoys “fitness modeling” in her spare time, Mrs. Nevada collects fortunes from fortune cookies (but does she eat the cookies, I must know), and Mrs. Wyoming’s “interests” include Chinese food. These pageants are so warped that they think food is not something you scarf down but an “interest.” In that case, I am very interested in peanut M&Ms, corn pops, and Klondike bars and I partake in this “interest” wearing my Tevas. But enough about me. If this is the type of lady that young girls are admiring, then all I can say is long live the pharmaceutical companies. In the meantime, if you don’t want your girl to start shooting up TrimSpa before reaching puberty, may I suggest watching something a little healthier on the tube on your Saturday night such as Cathouse, Southpark, Sex in the City, MTV has a nice variety of reality shows…E-mail Kerri McInnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.