There's something going on with these pageants. For two years in a row, beauty contents, which one would think would have gone the way of vaudeville in the feminized West, have become veritable Kulturkamps in which healthy, blonde representatives of the Great White, Christian American Middle stand up to the dungeon masters of the Dark, Gay, Secular-Lifestyle-Choice Post-America. Just last year, Carrie Prejean made her opinion of "gay marriage" amply known to perhaps the most vile exponent of celeb culture, Parez Hilton. Even Miss Teen South Carolina 2007 appeared to be making a populist argument, I think, about how we shouldn't waste resources on "the Iraq" and instead bring the money home to educate "U.S. Americans." And now we have Miss Oklahoma, Elizabeth Woolard, who, despite her PC reservations about racial profiling, still declared to a Latino Hollywood type named Oscar Nuñez her approval of "states' rights" ("that's what's so wonderful about America!") -- and to the roar of the crowd.
There's, of course, something completely useless about such a culture war, and I've always found it vulgar and ridiculous when Sean Hannity & Co. embrace such people as heroes. But the phenomenon does at least prove that in the starlet incubation center of the Mid West, young Nordic women are still instilled with decent values. And I could sense that Elizabeth really meant it.
Miss Oklahoma was runner up to our first Arab Miss USA, Rima Fakih, who hails from her state's burgeoning Muslim center of Dearborn. I can't say that such a choice surprises me -- indeed, it's a fairly typical PC move in which a somewhat Western looking girl (Rima's from Lebanon) is given the prize, and white Americans are assured that these new foreigners are all cute and not too uppity or scary.
Neocon Daniel Pipes drew cackles from the liberal commentariat when he noted "this surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants makes me suspect an odd form of affirmative action." I wasn't aware of this trend, but affirmative action and social engineering in public entertainment is nothing new, and has been in effect at least since Vanessa Willaims became the first "black Miss America" in 1984. (Williams, by the way, was a mulatto with blue eyes and not exactly a representative of the African beauty ideal.)
And Pipes might be getting at something bigger as well: The American culture industry seems to be moving away from promoting multiculti beauty queens who essentially approximate the Occidental ideal to women who are manifestly unattractive (or at least, don't conform to any European standard of beauty.) In a world in which most every other traditional value has been inverted, it was only a matter of time before what is obviously ugly is declared beautiful.
Take for instance the hijab-wearing black Muslim Miss A&T at North Carolina, Anisah Rasheed:
Excited and jittery, Anisah Rasheed of Roanoke pondered a fashion dilemma that few beauty queens have faced before: Matching her coronation gown with her hijab. ... Rasheed, 20, was crowned Miss A&T for 2005-06 on Thursday night in a sparkling fishtail gown-with a tiara glittering over her golden hijab-during homecoming ceremonies at North Carolina A&T State University.