When I was younger, I was obsessed with the Miss America pageant. I was not a robotic child from Toddlers and Tiaras, but if that show existed back then, you’d have bet I would have dreamed of becoming one.
Miss America was my family’s Super Bowl. The facts:
1.) We had countdowns, and even tapped it while watching in case we wanted to rewatch (which we always did).
2.) My dad once rode in the same limo that Miss Illinois (Kate Shindle—how can I remember this name but nearly nada from Science classes?) rode in the night after she was crowned Miss America and took a picture of her empty Entemann’s Donut box. We were ecstatic.
3.) We took a trip to Oakbrook, Illinois to watch the Miss Illinois pageant. We even travelled to a fair particularly to get Miss America’s autograph.
4.) My sisters and I wrote letters to one Miss Illinois from Macomb, Illinois, Amanda Meadows. We still have her signed black-and-white photo.
I have no idea why we were all obsessed. I loved sports, despised dresses, and was always placed in the back row in my (short-lived) ballet days due to my complete lack of coordination.
My obsession was long-lived (at least 5 years), but not lifelong. I eventually curbed my addiction, and went years without watching. But when I caught it on TV this weekend, I couldn’t help but tune in.
It was nothing like I remember. All the contestants seemed too poised. Too polished. Too thin. Overly operatic. It was like a robotic version of my adolescent addiction.
I know the Pageant numbers have dramatically decreased over the years, and that the pageant moved to TLC (which, unless you go by the names Jon or Kate Gosselin, is not going to reap higher ratings).
Maybe these lower ratings prove that we’re actually making progress as a society. We’re not going to watch a program where perfection prevails. Or, of course, it could simply mean that young girls aren’t obsessed with Opera.