Thursday, 26 March 2009

Cast your vote for Miss Hamilton 400!

Over the last twenty years or so, beauty pageants of all sort have gone steadily out of fashion, in NZ at least. People have realised that, despite the talk of building women's poise and self-confidence, these events are actually painfully naff.

But without any sense of irony at all, organisers of the Hamilton 400 motor race bring us the Miss Hamilton 400 competition - because no car event can be complete without boobs.

If you click on each 'girl', you get a quote, like 'If I could be anything, I’d be a Ligar (half lion half tiger) cause it sounds cool', or 'Best thing that’s ever happened to me is having a Hair Straightner'. This is to remind us that attractive girls are not smart, and vice versa.

I guess women enter events like this one for a bit of a joke, but I have a strong suspicion that the pageant's spectators will be laughing at these 'girls', not with them. The panel of identically dressed women invites voters to make denigrating comparisons: 'that one's got a big nose', or 'that one's a mutt', or 'why did she even enter?'.

Good on these women for feeling beautiful and confident - but can we not celebrate women's beauty in a more respectful way?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is this not ok yet ANTM seems to be?

Anna said...

Good question, Anon! I don't think ANTM is OK (although it clearly doesn't stop me from watching it) - I always write critically about it, even though I'm addicted.

ANTM and Miss Hamilton 400 do have in common that they set up the women involved for ridicule. But ANTM is so absurdly over-the-top that it's really a parody of itself. Things with cars and boobs are a bit more connected with real life, as they happen in local communities.

The women in this pageant may be being leered at by locals - neighbours, friends etc - and the context of the event will be very blokey and booze-fuelled.

And car/boob events make no pretense at being for women's enjoyment at all - there's not clothes, shoes or make-up involved, and no avenue for female creativity at all. That accounts for quite a large part of the appeal of ANTM (for me anyway) - I actually really like the aesthetics of the photography, clothes, hair, etc. Of course, it's quite possible to have those things without getting models to make fools of themselves, which isn't very nice...

Giovanni said...

I wouldn't be caught dead watching ANTM, but modelling and race car boob pageants are two very different things.

Anonymous said...

Are they Giovanni? Really?

Giovanni said...

Yes. They really, really are. Happen to know a few models (hey! I'm from Milan) many of whom are pretty staunch characters. They have their criticisms of their industry but no bones with its raison d'etre, as it were.

Anna said...

What do you think, Anon? IE do you not see any 'redeeming' feature in the fact that ANTM has a fashion element, and Miss Hamilton 400 doesn't?

Anonymous said...

Well I have issues with "fashion" itself. I think in general it promotes needless materialism/consumerism and the idea that we NEED (expensive)embellishment to be women. That is without going into false/bad body images etc. I do not see much female creativity in ANTM. There is more of that in Project Runway etc.

Fashion in the sense of women having their own sense of style and healthy self-image is great. I can't see the Hamilton 400 or ANTM achieving either.

Its just a personal stance but I can't see any "who is the most beautiful" competition being very healthy. I think we should promote inner beauty and being comfortable as ourselves without needing to be judged. I don't expect others to agree

Anna said...

Actually, I agree with you Anon - there is a lot about the fashion industry that is worthy of critique, and I've got a lot of sympathy for second wave views on this issue. Like many women, I'm torn between disliking many aspects of the fashion industry, and enjoying some of the aesthetic stuff. It would be much better if that aesthetic stuff could be enjoyed without repressive body image stuff, a consumerist industry, exploitative labour conditions for garment manufacturing, etc. Runway almost does this, apart from the models usually being painfully thin - but at least the primary focus is creativity and skill, not bodies.

anna c said...

I'm continuing the tangent, but the recent Drag Queen episode of Runway was really interesting for some of the comments on designing for different body shapes - it struck me that perhaps this was less to do with the models being drag queens and more to do with the fact that they had been working with such a narrow range of body shapes (correct me if that's a missassumption - I only watch it sporadically).

Anonymous said...

Anna C I think you are right. Last season they had to design for each other's mothers and it was quite negative about the women's shapes. I only catch an episode here and there (not my thing). The industry aspects disturb me and the ultrathin models.

Luigi said...

hey vote for my Girlfriend Bernie
she needs ur guys votes
chur

fucker out =]

v8supercar.co.nz/miss400

SMSD said...

On the other hand, Ligers are quite cool....

But seriously, i wouldn't think the idea behind this sort of pageant is to mock the women involved. Objectification and cat-calling yes, mocking, not so much.

Mary-Lou said...

There are women of all shaoes and sizes in the competition including mothers and successful women.

Why on earth would you even start to ridicule them or put them down? They are getting out there and doing something for themselves. Is that what you don't like? Does individual choice bug you that much?

I am proud that these women are standing up and being real women. This is feminism - not sitting behind a computer slagging off fellow women.

Anna said...

Do you really think there are women of all shapes and sizes in this competition, Mary-Lou? Do you think there are fat women? Women with disabilities? Even women with saggy bits from having babies? I don't recall even seeing any non-white faces. You have an interesting idea of diversity.

And I quite clearly didn't slag off any of the women in the competition. In fact, I said good on them for feeling beautiful and confident.

You really should try reading THM posts before criticising them.

Mary-Lou said...

I saw all the photos, there is a great difference in size and ability. Your whole "ooh where are the coloured faces" is hilarious. Should we create rules to forces contests to have a quota?

It is all about CHOICE. If a woman feels she is able to enter a competition she should be applauded, and not made fun of by other women. Being a woman should be celebrated, not a battle with other women who don't agree with my choices.

daisy said...

I find this blog so funny. I happened to be one of these girls who is aparently not smart. Yet im studing to be a podiatrist which i would consider a fairly intelligent profession and i happen to have represented nz in running a few times, which i am rather proud of so when people write annoying comments degrading the type of person we are from the 1min they saw us on stage it gets rather annoying . Most those comments which we wrote down we were obviously taking the piss seeing as we also think writing down a biography for a whole lot of strangers to judge us on is stupid. However if have to write something funny cos telling the crowd you want to be a cat gets kind of boring, I dont think there is anything wrong with getting up on stage and having a laugh with the crowd. If you took the time to talk to any of us girls while we were walking around you would have realised most of us didnt have huge boobs and were proberly more intelligent than many of the people attending this event. Know someone before you judge them