There is a rather well known stereotype that women who compete in beauty pageants are a bunch of vapid sparkly coked-up airheads who think that “world peace” is actually an achievable thing and given an opportunity to address a crowd, (such as during their moment of on stage glory during a beauty pageant) they will speak of it in a dewy, idealistic, generally ignorant way, with glassy eyes staring into oblivion and a robotic perma-smile emblazoned on their clueless faces.
Another sterotype about beauty queens, and perhaps this is more of a stereotype known better to those involved in the pageant world, is that beauty queens are shameless self-promoters. I had a very intense philosophical discussion about this with two fellow beauty queen friends in the car on the drive over to the pageant we all attended together a few weeks ago. (Yes, beauty queens have intense philosophical discussions). The word shameless kept coming up over and over. Shameless, being the entire theme of my business and something I generally look at as being a positive, self affirming, make no excuses, love who you are quality, could also be used to describe the, “get a picture of me in my crown over here with this homeless guy” mentality that beauty queens so easily fall victim too in the race for a bigger crown.
Like most stereotypes, both of these generalities have some roots in truth. But it’s the over generalizing and applying to wider groups of people that creates a stereotype, and makes it offensive in the first place. As a beauty pageant contestant, I am here to tell you, I have never tried cocaine. The rest of it, all true. My two friends and I made a pact in the car that night to be more aware of the self promotion behavior this year, and keep our actual volunteerism separate from our “appearances” where the crown and sash come out. As for the behavior of acting like Prozac zombie Barbies who believe in world peace . . . well, I’m not sure I can do anything about that one.
I do believe world peace is possible, and I do believe that human kind can forge a continued existence on this tortured planet and move toward healing the damage we’ve already done. Maybe I’m a little naïve, maybe I’m a little over-idealistic, but I don’t think its ignorance that allows me to still believe in the possibility of world peace and world wide healing. I pay attention. I watch John Stewart.
With the people of several nations in Northern Africa rising up over the past month and overthrowing their dictatorial governments, I think a lot of people like myself have found inspiration watching revolutions unfold. Yes, its not exactly peaceful, but times like this, tragic as they are, make you believe in strength in numbers, make you feel that by working together we can accomplish common goals, even a goal of eventual peace among Nations. If they can do that, then we can also do whatever it is that’s close to our own hearts here at home.
At the pageant a few weeks ago, when I wasn’t scrutinizing every inch of their butts for cellulite and thinking to myself “omg, I wonder if my thighs are that jiggly . . . ” I listened carefully to the ladies on stage talking about their individual platforms. I was inspired by the sheer variety of topics out there to be tackled and seeing that each of these ladies was taking on something different. The following week, a fellow member of a Green Living Committee I’m involved in through a professional organization, leant me a video. It’s called One Peace at a Time. The premise of this wonderful film is that if all the world’s problems or all of a region’s or group’s problems piled on top of each other seem too big to handle, too much to ever solve, one should start with the most basic one, and go from there. Just pick something, and tackle the thing that is the most basic item at the heart of the problem that’s important to you, and work on that.
That’s what beauty queens do. Beauty queens have an uncanny ability to pick a cause as their personal platform, roll up their beaded sleeves and dive into it, driving support to it, and speaking about it with passion, this is one of the reasons I’m proud to be a beauty queen, despite the stereotypes associated with it. Sure, we tend to make our personal stand wearing a crown and stopping occasionally to pose for photo-ops, but all self-promotion aside, there really isn’t many other activities in the modern world that allow a gal a reason to wear a crown in pubic, so you have to forgive us for wanting to get as much use out of it as possible.
I have also recently been looking for a way to use my business, Shameless Glamour, to support some of my personal causes so that it won’t just be a hollow and empty venture supplying sparkly things for meaningless purposes. (and to tie it in with my pageant platform thereby providing me with seamless segway options when discussing my business aspirations in a pageant interview, to move into talking about my community involvement . . . damn that is pretty self-promoting isn’t it?) So, anyway, this weekend, on an inspiration binger, between redesigning my website and ripping apart the altogether wrong start I had on my latest corset project, I designed a very special “Earth” glass nugget glitter cocktail ring.
I’ve been making these fun daytime casual glitter glass nugget rings with Hello Kitty and Mr. Yuck stickers for a while now, but I’m really excited about this new design, because it’s more than fashion, it’s meaning. It’s my little symbol of a clean, healthy, peaceful, sparkly, beautiful, utopian world. I’ve decided that the proceeds from the sales of this particular ring design will be donated to Environmental Working Group and/or Washington Toxics Coalition campaigns. It’s a small thing, but for my little fledgling business, (which is not exactly making a profit yet) I think it’s a good start. I believe that what the world truly needs to deal with the issues facing our generation as leaders, is just that, a start. . . . and world peace.