Volume 93, Issue 17

Tuesday, September 28, 1999


Letter on racism lacks guidance

No truth or spelling in advertising

Racism or sexism can't be reversed

Peace and love ignored

Freedom tank

Costly mistakes

Smiling on the beauty pageants

Police report should have been dropped

USC needs to get their finances in order

Justice Mercer-Style?

To drink or not to drink

Editorial Cartoon

Smiling on the beauty pageants

Re: "Here she is, Mrs. America" Sept. 17

To the Editor:

This is in response to what Sara Martel had to say about the Miss America Pageant in the edition of The Gazette, released Friday, Sept. 17.

While everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion, it's easy to become a victim to the stereotypical views of pageants if you have never been in one.

I was like Sara, in the sense that I also thought women were solely being judged on outward appearances rather than their accomplishments. However, I found myself wondering why every year thousands of pageants occur with an equally great number of participants, both men and women.

That's when I decided to see what all the hype was about.

I became involved in my first pageant when I was 18 years old. It was of my free will, I did not have any pageant crazed mother pushing me to do it.

Well, I won my first title of Miss West Nipissing 1998 and since then, have been in two other pageants including Miss Ontario, held in Toronto.

It might be of some importance to mention the marking scheme: interview – 40 marks, swimsuit – 10 marks, on-stage questions – 20 marks and the remaining, including poise, self-confidence, intelligence, achievements and aspirations – 30 marks.

As you can see, interview and the way you carry yourself is what will make you a winner, not how well you model the latest Speedo.

Then why have the swimsuit competition at all? Maybe the judges would like to have a representative who is confident about her appearance and will strive to keep her body healthy.

As for Sara's argument about motherhood and marriage – in no way are pageant officials suggesting that they are immoral acts. Simply, you, having won the title, are required to perform public duties, charity events and are constantly on the move for an entire year. They want to be sure that the winner will be able to devote herself fully to her new job.

I do agree with Sara's point about divorcees and women who have had an abortion.

It is funny that Sara failed to mention that Miss America has decided to work with veterans of war – seems she left out all of the positive aspects of pageants.

What have I learned from pageants? How to conduct myself well during interviews (great practice for future jobs) and in the public eye. I have gained so much more confidence and self-esteem that I have no problem approaching new people or trying new experiences and I've also learned to be proud of my accomplishments and to always strive for bigger and better things.

So now that I've been on both sides of this story, I have but one phrase for Sara Martel and her monkeys – "Don't knock it 'till you try it."

Jennifer Jessup
Miss West Nipissing 1998
Miss Founders 1998
Best Smile 1998

To Contact The Opinions Department:

Copyright The Gazette 1999