"Writing is my passion. It is a way to experience the ecstatic. The root understanding of the word ecstasy—“to stand outside”—comes to me in those moments when I am immersed so deeply in the act of thinking and writing that everything else, even flesh, falls away."
-bell hooks

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chaldean women expand culture with first pageant

I was scanning the internet for something exciting that was affecting Chaldean women locally and I came across this article Chaldean women expand culture with first pageant in the Detroit News. The link is posted below. As a western feminist I thought that all women regardless of their background should be granted the choice to view themselves as beautiful. I was aware that women’s showcasing their beauty and confidence was not a choice given to all women, but I never considered Chaldean women to be part of that group. I think a part of Chaldean women not being involved in pageantry is because they have a limited connection to American culture. Which is sad? But maybe that is because cultures want to retain their importance and not be assimilated or reconfigured to fit the norm. I have mixed opinions on why a beauty pageant was chosen as the outlet for Chaldean girls to engage in their own agency by expressing their beauty and confidence publicly. I mean why couldn’t they hold a speech contest or a public advocacy strategy to encourage women’s agency?

I think today women are continuously commodified and objectified because of their bodies and having these young girls engage in activities that perpetuates those ideals. I understand that allowing these young girls to take part in pageants is huge, but I’m still skeptical. I mean is pageantry the only American cultural strategy to showcase woman’s confidence and agency? If so then maybe as feminists we should be challenging what woman’s agency means, so that all women are not being hurt one way or another during the process.

What do you think? Was pageantry a good outlet to showcase these young girls’ agency or was it another tool to reinforce woman as object rather than subject?


1 comment:

  1. Ashley!
    I found this article about a month ago, and I was going to post something on it here, but I guess great minds think alike!
    With pageantry, I think that there are certain forms of it that do showcase women as as subject rather than an object. At times, the majority of the women in pageants are in some form of post secondary education, but then, do they showcase their knowledge at the final round of questions? Not at all.
    Although pageantry suggests that their candidates have poise, beauty, knowledge and an identity, I still see traditional constructs displayed in them...an ideal perfect body that, in the end, it has a large impact on the judges.
    For the Chaldean women who participated in the pageant, I think that it is a good way to showcase their agency without just judging their bodies (remember, they did not have a swimsuit category). Unfortunately, we were not there to see if an area of judging was based on their brains, rather than their boobs.


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