She is nothing shy of impressive; graduated with honors from Brown University, was recognized for her charitable involvement by President Obama, and even trained for four years with the Radio City Rockettes. Some may say she is unbelievable, but most just call her Miss America.
It's 2018 and Cara Mund is every little girl's role model. Smart, talented, and beautiful. In fact, all the Miss America contestants usually prove to be very impressive. But, this annual pageant nevertheless, has its institutional flaws.
For one thing, the fact that we still hold pageants is a little surprising. If holding these annual competitions were actually such a good idea we would do the same for men, right? But for some just the thought of making them strut in lavish outfits, solve the world's problems in 20 seconds, and give a talent show for a panel of judges, is odd.
In this decade you would think by now we would have at least gotten rid of the swimsuit competition. But no, I don't think this pageant organization will have to give up their supply of adhesive spray any time soon. Might I add that during this pageant the swimsuit portion accounts for 10% of your overall score and 'Composure', 25%? More than a third of the competition still prioritizes 'beauty' over all else.
They claim they are the "leading advocate for women's education and the largest provider of scholarship assistance to young women in the United States." And if this is true, that means that the number one supporter of women's education and mobility are pageants that most American women could never see themselves participating in.
Women are underrepresented in almost every field. I'm talking about women in STEM, women in politics, women in journalism, women in publishing, etc. Even Cara Mund wants to become the first elected Governor of North Dakota. But she isn't getting a scholarship for trying to break the glass ceiling, she is getting a scholarship because she was the best women "in good health", under the age of 24, who has never had children or married, and could actually afford to pay the costs of participating in pageants.
We need to show women around the country that there are a lot fewer hurdles to being successful. Women should be encouraged to take leaps without having to worry about their body image and whether they can be "smart, pretty, and talented". The truth is that there are a million forms of beauty that aren't presented by these pageants anyways.
We do not need a role model like Miss America to inspire our little girls. We need the ladies who voiced their opinions at the Women's March, the ladies who are dominating at gendered engineering schools, the girls getting things done in the White House. There are not enough spotlights to shine on our everyday female idols.
So, I would like to propose a new 'pageant' and I'll call it 'Lady America'. There is no one winner because I believe there is no limit to the success our women are capable of. There is no long list of prerequisites to compete, just the determination to do so. Because there is no kidding that we have to fight. It's 2018, there is still a wage gap and let me reiterate that we have had 45 male presidents run this country and 0 female. Taking on the role of a 'Lady America' means you have to own up to your potential and make every attempt to succeed in your passions. When you wear your crown of confidence you'll symbolize a strong American woman, a role model inspiring new generations of innovators, artists, leaders, and thinkers.