So, when John Oliver tackled the topic, you can imagine the little happy dance I did. Not only did he say what I've been wondering for years (it's 2014, "how the fuck is this still happening?"), he went further and targeted the usual defenses made in favour of the pageant. The scholarships, the 20-second interview with ridiculously complex questions, the "inexplicable ventriloquism."
Watch as what probably started out as a snarky puff-piece turns into some incredible investigative reporting about how much scholarship money actually gets awarded by Miss America.
John Oliver: "Right. Yeah. Right. You need to see them in bathing suits because as we all know, the intelligence portion of the brain is located somewhere on the upper thigh. In fact, Miss America trades on their scholarship claims so much, if you call the Miss America headquarters, this is what you hear: Thank you for calling the Miss America Organization, the world's largest provider of scholarships for women. If it is actually true that Miss America is the world's largest provider of scholarships for women, that's a little bit weird, because Miss America does not offer scholarships to all women, only those who compete in its pageants. So to qualify for a scholarship, you'll need to certify not just that you've never been married, but also that you are not now pregnant and never have been, which of course makes sense. Miss America is supposed to be a role model for children. How can she be that if she's got a child in tow who's constantly looking up to her? And those are just the official rules you need to abide by. If you want a shot at winning one of their scholarships, you're also going to need access to a can of butt glue, a spray adhesive essential for keeping those bikini bottoms on their bottoms."
It's 2014. It's hard to believe that something as outdated and misogynistic and purely beauty-based is still going on. It's hard to believe that they can claim to provide $45 Million in scholarships when it's actually $500,000 directly, maybe $4 Million indirectly. But thank goodness for guys like John Oliver who are willing to go to great investigative lengths to point out the absurdity of it all.
"Miss America gives out way less than 45 million dollars in scholarships and yet, whatever the number is, one thing does still seem to be troublingly true. The Miss America Organization IS actually the largest provider
of scholarships to women in the world. Yeah, because even their lowest number is more than any other women-only scholarship that we could find, more than the Society of Women Engineers whose website is here, more than the Patsy Mink Foundation here, and more than the Jeanette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund here, all of which you can donate to if you want to change the fact that currently the biggest scholarship program exclusively for women in America requires you to be unmarried with a mint condition uterus and also rewards working knowledge of buttock adhesive technology, which is just a little bit unsettling."