Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Morality Pageant

During my daily news-sweep, I stumbled upon a fascinating story out of Saudi Arabia: the country's only beauty pageant does not crown queens according to coke-bottle-figures or star-quality-facial-features; rather, their contest revolves around beautiful morals. Pageant founder Khadra al-Mubarak elaborates: "The idea of the pageant is to measure the contestants' commitment to Islamic morals... It's an alternative to the calls for decadence in the other beauty contests that only take into account a woman's body and looks."

Without entering into a heated debate about whether or not such Islamic morals entail oppressive or unequal standards for women, suffice it to say that at surface level this contest is undoubtedly alien to our shores. Don't take my word for it - a quick glance at some of the user responses more than sufficiently proves my point:

1) "Nut-jobs all of them...see what wonderful ideas come out of religion!!!!! Although the full body gear does help out a guy who's got monogamy issues... kinda like horse blinders."

2) "How many of those chicks' morals are synthetic implants?"

3) "A Saudi Strip Club is where they take off their veil."

The sheer ignorance and maliciousness of such comments suggest that a) the popular American imagination still privileges the aesthetic over the ethical, and b) America might very well benefit from a moral pageant of its own. Mind you, these are likely 'liberal' respondents.

Food for thought.

Print this post

No comments: