Check out that last line one more time: “You might not get to wear a crown, but your body will get the recognition it deserves.” Let’s parse that, shall we?
1. Wearing a crown is something to be celebrated: I could write a whole other post about beauty pageants, but I’ll save that for another time. Regardless of how you feel about pageantry, note here that the structure of this sentence implies that the goal is not to succeed in the competition, but to literally wear the sparkly thing. This is the adult version of princess culture.
2. Your body, not you, will get recognition: If we grant that a beauty pageant has additional, non-aesthetic components (i.e. community service, leadership, etc), then why is your body the thing that we are recognizing? The personification of “the body” as something different than a component of your multi-faceted self is a dangerous way of reducing you to your “useful” parts, and the parts of you that are still useful are the parts that fit into a bikini.
3. Bodies deserve recognition: Bodies are for being looked at by other people. Bodies are for other people to appreciate. Bodies are for other people to notice, judge, desire, and use. No. Your body is for you to inhabit and enjoy. Manipulating your body for the benefit of someone else–anyone else–is a slippery, slippery slope that ends in Bridalplasty.
Let me rewrite history and this ad campaign. How about the last line says: You might not have won, but at least you’ve been treating your body well.
But that still leaves the beauty pageant issue…
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