Dave Navarro + Beauty Queens = Skeeve
Undaunted, I will now rewrite my post about Monday's Miss Universe Pageant, even though the original got lost in a technical misfire. Courage, y'all. It comes for free around here.
So on Monday night, I capped off my Memorial Day weekend by watching Miss Universe with my friends Kerri and Om. (Well, Om was sort of an innocent bystander, since he's my roommate.) At first, we assumed it was going to be a situation where we watched women in ridiculous costumes and ironically gasped at how terrifying it was.
And while we never stopped making fun of the show, the terror became genuine. It's one thing to say "God! Miss Malaysia's outfit frightens me!" and quite another to feel a cold shiver down your back as NBC spends two hours proving that women are still being debased by the same dismissive attitude that once kept them from getting the vote in this country.
I know, of course, that women all over the planet are subjected to constant human rights abuses and that in America they still hit glass ceilings every day. However, I naively believed that misogyny and objectification were only peddled as entertainment in lad mags like Maxim and Stuff. I didn't know that such things were still being sold to us in the guise of female empowerment.
And that type of "girl power" is just what the hosts--including Mario "A.C. Slater" Lopez--were trying to shill when they announced that Miss Universe had the thrilling opportunity to do charity work during her reign. The so-called importance of the pageant was also the subtext of a video package of last year's winner, which showed her alleviating the suffering of impoverished children by helicoptering in to tickle their scabrous faces with the tresses of her magical, lustrous hair.
I'm certain that if we accused NBC executives or the Miss Universe folks--including pageant owner Donald Trump--of being flesh peddlers, they'd point to these bits as proof that the show actually enriches these women.
But let's get real. All that "up with ladies" stuff took less than three minutes. The real purpose of the show was parading a variety of hot babes around to the strains of popular music. Sure, a couple of them had humanitarian interests, but hoo-boy... all of them had firm buttocks!
And you guys? Miss Universe doesn't even have a talent competition. Just swimsuit, evening gown, and a question from a judge. The only thing these women are expected to do is look pretty while walking.
And some of them can't even do that. Miss USA busted ass in the evening gown section. Later, when Miss Mexico--the pageant was held in Mexico City--didn't make the top 5 and Trippy McFallerson did, the hometown crowd booed and booed. They booed right through Miss USA's question-from-a-judge. The poor woman answered and smiled, but you could tell she wanted to ralph.
Here's a clip of the falling...
And here's a clip of the booing...
Anyway... the lack of a talent competition is merely a subtle act of objectification. Want something bolder? How about the fact that Dave Freaking Navarro, famously drug-addled member of Red Hot Chili Peppers, was a judge? You want to know what his question was?
"Would you rather have a relationship with a guy who is spontaneous and wild or one that plays it safe?"
What? Seriously? And worse, Miss Venezuela had to wait for a translator to explain this bullshit to her. I imagine the translator said something like, "The greasy American just propositioned you for sex. I recommend you provide a circuitous non-answer or a fake cell phone number."
No amount of charity work can erase the fact that Trump and the rest of the team let a lecherous skeeve like Dave Navarro be a judge.
Oh! Oh! And I haven't even told you about the cubicle wall. At the back of the stage, there was this giant wall made of boxes, like those IKEA bookshelves you can get or like they use in Madonna's video for "Human Nature." Each box held a losing contestant, and during every competition round, the cast-offs were required to dance inside them. The lighting made it impossible to see their faces but easy to see their legs.
Seriously. Women in cubicles, faces obscured, shimmying. It was like an international strip-a-thon, especially when everyone was required to wear a skimpy bikini during the swimsuit round.
But I don't think anything clarified Miss Universe as a girls-for-sale racket quite like the music being played under the various "performance" segments. During one--I think it was when the top fifteen were announced--the ladies paraded around to a loop of Nelly Furtado's "Say It Right." As they strutted, we heard Furtado endlessly singing "You don't mean nothing at all to me."
And then during evening gowns, we heard a loop of Sean Paul's "(When You Gonna) Give It Up To Me." The title of that song says it all.
So remember contestants: You don't mean nothing at all... unless you give it up.
And girls watching at home? That's a lesson for you, too. Got it? Good! Now get to your cubicle!
Labels: TV / Movies / Etc.