Someone explain to me why they ask societal questions during beauty pageants?

If anybody happens to find themselves watching a Miss USA beauty pageant, then it is probably for one reason. By tuning in, one gets to see 50 gorgeous women together on one stage, donning swimsuits and assorted apparel. And that’s all anyone really cares about.

And I don’t mean that to sound shallow. It’s the same reason why supermodels exist. They look extremely pretty, so I want to see them looking extremely pretty. I am never in a million years going to know these girls, so I don’t really need to know their personalities. I don’t need to know their political views or their thoughts on global warming.

If I am out on a date with a girl who I happen to find really pretty — which would hopefully be always — then I absolutely would like to learn more about her. In that instance, her personality matters.

But with models, or Miss America contestants, I couldn’t care less about their personality or their intelligence. Unfortunately for them, and us, it’s a longstanding tradition to pose questions to these girls, asking them about a pertinent sociological issue.

And it’s not like these girls don’t have the mental capability to answer questions. I’m sure plenty of them are smart — despite common stereotypes, I’m fully aware that beauty does not always equate to a lack of brains. There can be both.

That being said, in all likelihood, when you gather 50 people in one room — nevermind the fact that its 50 gorgeous women — at least one of them is probably going to be pretty dumb.

And in this instance, her name is Marissa Powell, better known as Miss Utah.

For those who couldn’t keep up, here is a transcript of her cringeworthy response.

I think we can re … relate this back to education and how we are … continuing to try to strive to … [smiles] … figure out how to create jobs, right now. That is the biggest problem in … I think, especially the men, are, um … seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to try to figure out how to … create education better so that we can solve this problem.

I mean, that’s so bad that if you were to just take a random word generator, click it 100 times so that it spits out 100 different words, you could probably still get a more coherent paragraph than what this girl said.

But let’s also try to assess this fairly. It’s very easy to label Powell as “dumb,” but it wouldn’t be right if we didn’t evaluate the entire context.

She’s standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people. She’s on live television. And to top it off, she’s asked a question that she is only hearing for the very first time, and is forced to give an instant response.

Let’s go back to the question.

A recent report shows that in 40% of American families with children, women are the primary earners. And yet, they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?

If I was taking a written examination, I would probably have to think about my answer for a full minute before preparing a response to this question. Heck, I actually had to listen to it twice live just to make sure I fully understood what was being asked. The question is much more wordy than it needs to be, and could have been condensed so to be better understood.

That being said, this girl clearly didn’t even attempt to gather a rational response. There was absolutely zero activity going on in her brain. A simple, “This disparity shows that pay equality is a real issue in American labor, and needs to be fixed,” would have been a sufficient response, but she wasn’t anywhere close to that.

Marissa Powell, to quote Billy Madison, “I award you zero points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

But again, to be fair, this is not the first time such an unintelligible response was given during the Q&A in a Miss America pageant. Have we all forgotten this?

Ironically, the girl from this pageant was named Caite Upton. Of course it took place in 2007, a few years before Kate Upton’s emergence. But still funny.

The point in all of this, however, is that I think it is time to do away with the question-and-answer portion of beauty contests. Bring the talent show part instead where they use glasses full of water to make music, or wave batons. Or do they still do that?

Having them answer these questions is essentially a form of torture. And I say that because it is a lose-lose situation. Answer me this — when has a contestant ever given such a quality answer that the video of her response went viral because it was so good? That’s right, never.

The only time anyone is ever going to hear these responses is if they were watching it live on television (and if that’s the case then see my first paragraph: they never cared about what they had to say to begin with), or because the response was so bad that it was blasted all over YouTube, and then discussed the next day by some asshole on his blog.

I feel for these girls.

But then I remember that they’re extremely hot, will probably never have to work a day in their life, and will marry millionaires and spend the rest of their days living a glamorous life. And my sympathy lessens a bit.

Oh well. Who knows. Maybe her response will motivate the great state of Utah to create education better.

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