[m2c] Miss USA Pageant Puts Porn on a Pedestal
sandinista at shaw.ca
Fri Jun 11 12:06:15 MDT 2010
Miss USA Pageant Puts Porn on a Pedestal
By Caryl Rivers
Friday, June 11, 2010
As Miss USA contestants pout and preen in fishnet stockings, Caryl
Rivers says young women are being exposed to an ever-intensifying
media message that says sex sells and "you too can be porn star."
Miss USA Pageant Puts Porn on a Pedestal (WOMENSENEWS)--
The Miss USA pageant, in case you missed this news shocker, is
offering Web photos of contestants featuring what might be called
stripper chic. The young women pout and preen in fishnet stockings,
bustiers and lots of cleavage.
Donald Trump, owner of the Miss Universe organization, of which Miss
USA is a part, defended the photos to Entertainment Weekly on May 11.
"We are in a different age. They are a little bit sexy but I'll tell
you what--everybody's watching, so I have no problems with it," he
said. "If you look at Miss America, it's now off network
television--and we're doing better than ever, so I really have no
problem with it."
That kind of money spawns all kinds of reasons to ignore the negative
consequences. An April 2009 national high-profile story about a young
woman murdered in Boston by a man she had solicited on Craigslist
might have seemed like good grounds to put the site's erotic ads on
pause. But no such cleanup effort appears to have arrived. Craigslist
is expected to improve its profitability 22 percent this year, due to
the personal ads.
Could this be actually dangerous? Yes if, for one thing, it encourages
young women to place erotic ads in the personals section. But there's
also a more generic danger.
In a major report on girls in 2007, the American Psychological
Association found the media emphasizing young women's sexuality "to a
It found that if girls learn that behaving like sexual objects gains
approval from society and from people whose opinions they respect,
they may begin to "self-sexualize;" in fact, to become their own worst
enemies as far as their health and well-being are concerned.
While there's been a commendable trend for women to develop healthy
positive attitudes toward their own sexuality--undoing centuries of
deep cultural prohibitions in all parts of the globe--the pendulum
swing to hyper-sexualization carries its own perils.
Research links hyper-sexualization with three of the most common
mental health problems of girls and women: depression, eating
disorders and low self-esteem. And, boys as well as girls can
internalize the idea that girls are supposed to behave like sex
objects. Boys exposed to sexualized portrayals of girls may be more
prone to commit acts of harassment.
What's needed--as soon as possible--is curricula in our schools that
examine the rapid growth of these harmful images and strategies for
both girls and boys to resist them.
Boston University journalism professor Caryl Rivers is the author of
"Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women" (University Press of
For more information:
Photos of Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih:
APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girl
"Until all of us are free, the few who think they are remain tainted
with enslavement." Lee Maracle
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