What the HAYnes? Miss Utah: ‘We need to create education better’

HUMOR – If you are one of those people who spend Sunday night in a Sunday nap hangover, you probably missed the recent Miss USA pageant wherein Miss Utah, Marissa Powell, flubbed her answer to the question, “A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”

At this point everyone is thinking up their brilliant responses from the comfort of their recliners and baggy sweatpants, surrounded by family and people who love them.

Now think about how you would have answered that question standing on a Las Vegas stage in a ball gown, on ridiculously high heels, under glaring lights, knowing that your answer would be televised to millions of cranky people who are missing their Sunday naps to hear your answer.

This was Miss Utah’s answer:

I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to … (uncomfortably long pause) … figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem and, I think, especially the men are seen as the leaders of this, so we need to — create education better so we can solve this problem.

Admittedly, Miss Utah’s answer was incoherent and Sarah Palin-esque, but we are all human. We all screw up and at least she seems to have a sense of humor about it. Her answer to the question was not the problem.

The question was the problem. The Washington Post’s “ComPost” blogger, Alexandra Petri, rephrased the question this way: “Hey, person whom we just explicitly judged on the appearance of her finer points in a bikini, please talk about sexism.”

While I do not think that the existence of beauty pageants significantly influences the amount of compensation a qualified female employee receives, I do think that as long as women allow themselves to be judged according to their bikini body on stage, some men will continue to see those women as pieces of meat. Some male brains are hardwired to objectify scantily-dressed women, it seems.

If you worry about being objectified, here is the obvious answer: Do not behave like an object.

If you want to earn more and be taken seriously, work hard, finish school, cover up your nether-regions, stand up straight, use decent grammar, and throw away all of the fast food wrappers from the floor of your car. And do not take any guff.

A great thing about living in 2013 as opposed to 1953 is that it is socially acceptable for women to choose what they do and where they work. Do you want to be an astronaut? Do it. Do you want to be a housewife? Do it. Do you want to be the person who taste-tests Blue Bunny ice cream? That is my dream job, too.

Do you want to win a beauty pageant? Fine, but understand that you are perpetuating the objectification of women. Understand that if you do not get your crap together during the question-and-answer portion thousands of those same women who would argue that women should wear and do whatever they want will blame you if they are not paid as well as their male counterparts.

No pressure.

Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.



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  • mark boggs June 21, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    And if they all decide to stop going out for the swimsuit portion of the show, viewership declines by at least half and the whole idea of the pageant goes to the dustbins of history. Sounds good to me.

  • Bree June 22, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Where does Utah rank nationally in terms of education? At the very bottom of the list.
    What do you expect?

  • Real Life June 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    How fitting. Miss UTAH. Keep em’ dumb and keep em’ making babies.

  • BD June 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Well, Miss Utah seemed to have all the right words. They were just in the wrong order!
    Getting back to the question, are we talking about a lifetime earnings comparison? If so, men are always going to earn more until we find a way for a man to become pregnant. That’s life. I’m pretty sure a male cashier at Walmart earns the same wage as a female cashier. Yea, I’ve oversimplified the issue but there’s my two cents…

  • Jen June 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    A lot of girls use pageants to pay for college, learn to become better public speakers, and to volunteer in their communities. No one volunteers more each weekend than a pageant girl. However, many are doing away with the swimsuit portion and I wish they all would.

  • Roy J June 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I often wonder what are the criteria for statistics like the one in this article. Does the criteria include that the employed must be working the same job? Or is the criteria that the employed have the same education, or is it the social status that is being used to define parameters? For example, if the criteria is the same job, then it may be true that women are being paid unfairly, since the same job ought to have the same wage, excluding other factors like longevity, experience, etc, etc. But if the criteria is something like having the same level of education (whatever that means), then you can compare the wages of a secretary or a filing clerk with those of a carpenter or a furniture mover. Alexandra Petri apparently didn’t pick up on that more important fact at all, since the real unfairness of the question was not that it was sexist, but that it was to stupid a question to be answered, except with an insult. Apparently the only criteria was 40% of families with children, which of course, obviously excludes families where women give birth to dogs, birds and other inhumans.

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