Ah, the Miss America organization. An American apple pie institution.
Just the name conjures all sorts of images doesn't it?
Swimsuits (for the teenage boys who happen to be watching)...
But is that all Miss America is about?
Actually, surprisingly, it's not.
For years this organization has strived to create a confident, assertive and involved breed of woman. Each contestant must pursue a platform they are passionate about, and promote that in their time as an American Miss (whichever city, state, or country represent).
No folks, the platform isn't always longing for world peace. Platforms can be promoting awareness about diseases, recycling, community involvement, you name it.
There is actually quite a lot that goes into scholarship pageants. You wouldn't know it would you? Neither did I. The only reason I knew about any of this was because an old friend of mine actually participated in several pageants.
Miss America, however, is not solely about creating successful, confident individuals; it's also equally focused on creating good role models for young girls who are growing up.
Being a representative of the Miss America organization carries a certain weight of responsibility with it.
Which brings me to Miss Oshkosh.
A few months ago, the reigning Miss Oshkosh, Veijzahn Knight, was cited by Wal-Mart for shoplifting. She pleaded no contest.
You can read the whole "article", which was posted by Oshkosh's fine publication "The Northwestern, here.
It's kind of sad really. I mean, come on, she's Miss Oshkosh! She's got a sparkly crown, she supports the men and women of the armed forces, she gets to ride around in an open car at parades, and wear a sweet sash!
Is there anything better in life, really?
Now, I know people make mistakes. I'm not asking the girl to be perfect by any means, but she also did accept the title of Miss Oshkosh.
She did accept a position that is supposed to be about more than a crown and getting her picture taken. She accepted the responsibility of carrying herself as a role model to the young women of this community.
So I guess now is the time to ask some questions about public figures...
What are the sorts of role models would you like for your children to have?
Should they be held to a higher standard, since they are representing a concept greater than themselves?
Does this responsibility still mean something to an individualistic society?
What does a strong, confident and assertive young woman act like?
These are questions that people have to come to a consensus on before events, such as the American Miss pageants, can be effective.
I often wonder what compels people to shoplift.
What are the motivations behind it?
Lack of moisturizer?
I almost cried when I found out that what was stolen was makeup and Hello Kitty merch.
Come on Veijzahn!
If you're going to be a role model for shoplifters, at least steal things that don't embody vanity and straight up silliness!
What does it teach young women when you steal makeup? That the outer appearance is what matters? I thought we were trying to get away from the shallow stereotypes of beauty pageants!
And Hello Kitty merch?
Are you an Asian teenager??
What are we teaching the kids??
I'm being facetious right now of course, but it does sadden me.
What saddens me most, is the fact that when she was apprehended for her petty crime, that she didn't at least have the character to admit that she did it. I think that is what bugs me the most, because it comes from someone who is supposed to be a role model. Someone who thinks beyond themselves and thinks of others.
She made a mistake, and she got caught. Happens to a lot of us.
But then she lied. The manager reviews the cameras, to check her story and finds out that she isn't telling the truth. She is now a liar to the press, and to the parents who won't let their kids see this report.
I would have had so much more respect for her if she had just owned her dirt, but c'est la vie.
You may say; "Well Josh, you aren't perfect so don't judge."
And you would be absolutely right, so I'm not going to judge her heart. I don't know where this mixed up beauty pageant darling is in her life. I really don't.
Veijzahn, if I could say one thing it would be this; I love ya girl, we all make mistakes and I'm sure you've learned from this one.
Next time the hand starts twitchin', remember all the people who placed their faith in you to be a good role model and somehow, I suspect, the Hello Kitty merch won't be as attractive anymore! But until then I dug up a sweet bag that would totally be a great accessory to your outfits!
Best part is, it's recycleable, so not only can you shoplift in style, but you can save the world and promote a new platform simultaneously!
You're welcome! :)
On a completely unrelated note: I do think they should really rename the Miss Universe pageant. It's a super misleading title, because it implies that the universe participates in it. I've never seen anyone but earthlings win it. So should it really be Miss Universe? Or would Miss International be more fitting?
What do you think?