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January 29, 2008

Miss America is a plague reports " that "Kristen Haglund, of Farmington Hills, Michigan, sang "Over the Rainbow" and walked a crowd-pleasing strut in a black and gold bikini to clinch the title."

For this, she has been awarded $50,000 and a year of travel.

I don't want to disparage the "aspiring Broadway star" or her talent or her ambition, but I would like to take this time to attack the fact that her singing skills and black and gold bikini garnered such praise and rewards. The last time I was out in public in a bikini, all I could think was "this is indecent exposure... I think these 5 other people can see my reproductive parts...."

The Miss America pageant is, in my mind, the jumping off point for standardizing women in to a "perfect" version of femininity. She's poised, she's "smart", she's hot in spandex underwear. It puts out in contest form what so many other popular culture facets hint at, but might not say (except for Extreme Makeover or The Swan). Around every corner messages are being sent to women about how they can achieve the ultimate femininity and therefore happiness, but no other cultural establishment standardizes and rewards it in quite the same way.

I would like to leave you, dear reader, with ads from NIvea skin care, in 3 languages, two of which I don't understand, but still send me a very clear message about my skin/life/chances at love: