The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Miss America scholarships misleading, objectify women

By Tabitha redder/managing editor

A 93-year-old organization striving for the celebration of women and scholarship was recently debunked, and the findings were disappointing.

In a Last Week Tonight HBO segment, host John Oliver found disturbing and shocking falsities that the Miss America Organization has spread for an unknown amount of time.

The organization’s website claims that last year it “made available” $45 million in cash and scholarship assistance to both the few who become Miss America and also the 12,000 who compete in its state and local competitions.

The organization also claims to be the world’s largest provider of scholarships to women in the world.

This sounds admirable, amazing even.

The Miss America Pageant has come a long way — beginning in 1921 objectifying swimsuit-clad women in hopes of bringing business to a New Jersey boardwalk, to its current ideology: “celebrating women and scholarship.”

However, Oliver found that the $45 million scholarship claim was completely deceiving and nowhere near the true amount of money awarded to winners.

The actual total scholarship money awarded was $482,000.

The Miss America Organization verifies this $45 million claim because it includes all the scholarships offered to every school, not just the ones the winners take.

For example, a winner might receive multiple scholarship offers from different schools, and because she can’t physically attend all the schools, she will only accept one. The Miss America Organization counts all of the offers in this scholarship assistance claim.

Deceitful? Yes.

Even worse, the pageant still objectifies women even though it claims to focus on scholarship and academics.

Fifteen percent of a contestant’s score comes from the swimsuit competition. The fact that the entire world is still allowed to gawk at barely-clothed women in bikinis to receive an educational scholarship is so backward. So 1920s, actually. What year is it, again?

However, its claim of holding the title of the world’s largest provider of scholarships to women in the world is true.

But the money isn’t available to all women. These scholarships are only for winners or contestants in the Miss America Pageant. To qualify for the pageant, contestants must be 17-24 years of age, not pregnant or ever have been pregnant or married.

That’s right, the largest source of educational scholarships for women objectifies and degrades women.

It doesn’t celebrate them.

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