Whoever said “Honesty is the best policy” obviously never met Carrie Prejean.
A few weeks ago, Miss USA contest Carrie Prejean (California) made headlines all across the country after she provided a controversial response to gay marriage which – some would argue – lost the contest for her. Since then, she has been an open target for the left, being called everything from a bigot to a homophobe to a religious wingnut (that accusation only magnified when she joined up with a Christian Publicity Firm and the Conservative-based National Organization for Marriage). Things took a dramatic shift this week when suggestive pictures, revealing the lingerie clad Prejean, were leaked on the ‘net. From there, the blood thirsty pageant officials have moved in with threats of stripping Prejean of her title as Miss California, citing a violation of “ethic and moral” standards.
I’m no voice for the Conservative movement. You can be sure of that. But this is ridiculous, even for me. This is hypocrisy of the absolute worst kind.
For starters, we should all face facts. The only reason Ms. Prejean is in this perdicament in the first place was because she made the tragic (but commendable) mistake of being bold in her faith by offering a response to a question that did not belong in the contest in the first place. Her views on gay marriage are about as germane to a beauty contest as her views on college football’s BCS (which, as we all know, sucks). Ever since she confidently declared her beliefs (the operative term here is her beliefs) she has been the victim of an all-out smearing campaign from our friends on the left.
For me to believe that going after Prejean is not about retribution for gay folks and truly is about the photos, I would have to completely turn a blind eye to the beauty contest system. Beauty pageants represent the ultimate in female objectification, where the occasional “deep” question is asked of the contestants as a smoke screen hiding the commodification of the event. Contrary to what some may believe, the whole point of a beauty contest is to judge its participants based on appearance. Whether or not they can quote Margaret Thatcher or if Ghandi is truly their role model is irrelevant. For hours, women strut around stage in evening gowns and bikinis showing off their goods. The prettiest one wins. That simple. Virtue, morality, depth and intellectual prowess are secondary – if, that is, they even matter at all. So to get up in arms about photos leaking on the internet (no less racy than what they wear during the Swimsuit competition) is a hogwash (*It should be noted that male bodybuilding contests operate in a similar fashion. The only muscles that matter are the ones you flex.*).
Now, I will admit that to some extent Prejean is now learning a lesson about what our LGBT brothers and sisters experience on a daily basis. For the first time in her life (at least I’m assuming this is the first time she’s been involved in something like this) she is now the subject of stigmatization, persecution, narrow-minded judgement, and mud-slinging based on an expression of her sexuality and a belief she holds. I’m wondering if this experience will truly open her eyes to the plight of marginalized people in our culture. That remains to be seen.
But in staying on point about the hypocritical disallowance of free speech by some folks, my good friend and blogging buddy the Hippie Conservative made a great observation on this very issue (I’ve referenced him twice in one week. So yes Hippie, that entitles me to advertising dollars):
“The entire entertainment industry has now shown itself to be unified on “blacklisting” someone if they don’t swear allegiance to the Gay Movement. No matter your stand on the issue, you have to admit, Joseph McCarthy would be so proud of their methods.”
Though the HC’s comment specifically addresses the entertainment industry, this phenomenon extends far beyond them. The world at large tends to view a lone person’s opposition to a social minority (done in the spirit of free speech) as an act of oppression, worthy of excoriation. But I don’t buy that. Not at all. In fact, if I were to take sides, I would join Team Prejean in a nanosecond. Not necessarily because I agree with what she said, but because I believe in her right to say it, and to do so without fear of reprisal. While I’ve always maintained that some consequences might be in order, something as dramatic as stripping a crown is extreme and unjust.
Then, if the accusations of impropiety should surface about the photos she took, she should respond by pulling out the tape of the competition and showing the judges the part where she and 50 or so other oiled up women strolled on stage with approximately 75% of their bodies exposed.
Quite simply, regardless to how you personally feel about Ms. Prejean or other folks of her ilk, you can’t deny that she is either the victim of an age-old double standard of beauty contest exposure vs. Internet exposure OR – worst yet – she is being secretly punished for having a belief and openly professing it. HC was right. Joseph McCarthy would be proud. And perhaps a little aroused by the photos. But definitely proud.