Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia

Miss America started out as a "bathing beauty" contest. I want you to keep that in mind as you read the rest of what I have to say.

I am and have been a titleholder for various worthy programs over the last few years. I  adore each and every one of my sister queens from every program. I've made some of my best friends through pageantry. And before you say a word about objectifying women, blah blah blah, I am quite literaly the antithesis of what most people think of when they think of Miss [Insert Program Name Here].

I'm short.
I'm fat.
I'm over 40.

If anyone was "not a typical pageant girl", that would be me. But enough about me, and on with the main part of what I really want to say...

Every pageant program started somewhere. Once upon a time, a person had an idea for what they wanted to see in the future as a way to make the world a better place. Sometimes that meant starting as a bathing suit competition and developing into one of the world's foremost scholarship programs for women. But it didn't happen overnight.

This weekend I became aware of a situation in a pageant community of which I'm a part that really bothered me. Because the information is private, I won't share details. That being said, it really bothered me to see the director(s), whom I respect, being badmouthed and the program and some of its titleholders being maligned for the most riduculous of reasons.

When you are part of a pageant program that is fairly new, there will be kinks that need to be worked out over time. Have patience with the director(s). They are human beings who have envisioned a program that embodies the principles of [insert platform here]. But the program doesn't just spring forth fully-formed from their head as if they were Zeus. It took the Miss America program decades before they became the program they are today.

Even programs that have been around a while have situations that arise that can cause confusion. Directorships change, contracts aren't renewed, venues cancel the day of the event, emcees screw up royally and so on. It doesn't matter how large or small the pageant program is, things happen. How directors and delegates alike react says volumes about their character.

Don't badmouth the director(s) behind their back. Especially online. Screenshots last forever. And they can sometimes have a lasting impact on you. If you have an issue with a director, go directly to them and voice your concerns. Be polite and non-confrontational. And unless it is absolutely critical, don't do it during pageant weekend. Most pageant directors have "day jobs" which help fund their programs, by the way. I've yet to meet a director whose sole source of income comes from their pageants. They produce these events for YOU, the titleholders. Often times they don't even make all their expenses back. So when you badmouth them? You look like a doubly classless individual.

Appointed Titles. There are those that feel they aren't as valid as "earned" titles. I've even heard them referred to as "bought titles". From a pageant director's standpoint, an appointed title is a great way to get a presence in an area/region/state. Usually, they do come with a nominal fee to offset the costs of crown/sash/producing the national pageant.

From the title holder's standpoint, they are also a great way to get out in your community and spread the message of your platform/do community service/bring awareness. In some instances, a titleholder will receive their title similarly to an appointed title. For instance: a reigning titleholder gives up their title and since no one was able to take her place, the director may choose someone s/he knows that will be able to fulfill the duties of the title and represent the program at the national level, even though they didn't compete for it.

A title is only what YOU make of it, regardless of how you received it. There are queens who have "earned" their title but for them it is nothing but another notch in their belt. There are queens who have appointed titles who have worked their backsides off promoting their pageant program and their personal platform. It is no one's business HOW you were crowned. But it is everyone's business how you act once you are wearing it.
  • If you are wearing a crown for a program and you are criticising your sister queens because their title wasn't "earned", you don't deserve to wear the crown at all.
  • If you are wearing a crown for a program and you are speaking ill of your sister queens because they don't as much as about [insert program platform here], you don't deserve to wear the crown at all.
  • If you are wearing a crown for a program and you are badmouthing the director(s)/staff, you don't deserve to wear the crown at all.
  • Don't be Marjorie.

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