Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ohio's Outstanding Teen News!

I'm excited to announce that the Miss Ohio's Outstanding Teen program has launched a new website! Thank you Roger Sessor of the Miss Portsmouth organization for sharing this with me. It's still under construction, but certainly a positive step.

Also, a Teen Princess division competition will be held this summer in conjuction with Miss Ohio.

Click to enlarge the flyer on the left for more information.

I'm not sure, but I believe Ohio's Princess division is simply a teen pageant that does not include talent- don't quote me though, I'm not positive! I've also received emails from the national organization about their princess program designed to "mentor" 6 to 12 year old girls.

Sorry, but I'm not publishing the national information here because the promotional picture and concept nauseates me!

With the tag line “Ever dream of being a princess?” and benefits including, “Laugh, giggle and have fun during a PJ party and fashion show” I simply can’t support this money-making venture. It was presented my last year as a contestant, and while I smiled and listened like a good titleholder, I didn’t like it then either.

My issue is this- I can not tolerate gender roles or social norms; I believe anyone can be and do anything. While personal experience has taught me that pageants can spark valuable growth in most Miss and some Teen contestants, it is my opinion that young girls only learn that dresses are pretty and crowns are important. I know many of you will disagree, but I can not stand the gender stereotypes and shallow principles that little girls learn when they compete in pageants.

I understand the national Princess Program is not a competition, and thus, I think it’s almost worse! At my last spring forum as a Miss Ohio contestant, I believe it was explained that parents of these little girls would pay a registration fee and have to buy a required white dress and accessories… perhaps the crown was included, I don’t remember. In the end the little girls are included onstage at the state and now the national pageant; this translates into ticket sales for the organization. I have to give them credit for trying something new to make money, but these little girls aren’t even learning competitive show-women-ship, they’re just being taught that it’s important to look pretty!

Even the term “Princess” gets under my skin! Although she wears a crown, Miss America is NOT a queen. Last year my holiday gift to my five year old niece was story books from a feminist bookstore, in which the protagonist princess beat-up the dragon. When she saved the prince he told her she looked a mess and to come back when she’d cleaned her clothes… so she said “forget you!” So I realize that being a princess can be presented in an empowering way, but I’m not convinced that’s what this program will successfully do.

I digress.

If you want information about this program, I’m sure it’s on the MAO Teen or Miss America website. Find it yourself!

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