Intern Rebecca here, with thoughts on Miss America…
A bit of sad news flew in today from LaLaLand: Former Miss America Leona Gage died Saturday at the age of 71. It’d be nice to say her legacy as Miss America died with her, but unfortunately that passed merely one day after Leona was rewarded the title.
For those of us who are hazy on our Miss USA trivia, Leona, posing as a single virginal woman in 1957, was in fact on her second marriage and mother to two children while competing for the crown. News of her scandalous life leaked soon after she stepped up to the throne, and Leona was promptly told to step back down, then run far, far away and never return.
53 years later, not much has changed – married women are still not allowed to compete for the title of Miss America. Divorced women? Sure. But married is out of the question. (The logic here baffles me. If you don’t uphold your wedding vows, you’re somehow more “wholesome” and living up to the Miss America “Character Criteria” better than a woman who is married and committed to her husband?)
Even though the pageant is currently flailing through the cable-time continuum, and even Mario Lopez can’t seem to save it, there may be a married women or two out there who’d like to compete. Or, Heaven forbid, a woman who’s been working her whole life to be Miss America, but who would also like to marry her boyfriend.
Isn’t there anything women can do? Can we somehow legally call for change to this seemingly archaic contest?