Are tattoos really a breakthough for Miss America?

Miss Kansas may be getting ink for her ‘ink,’ but it’s kind of disappointing

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

UTKellyRev2ColumnAaaaah, controversy for Miss America…shocker.  Let me preface this article by saying that I find the entire pageant industry creepy and sexist.  Although, I can vividly remember the excitement of popping popcorn and readying a “score card” with my friends as a kid.

But really, when this contest began in 1921, I do not believe the organizers ever would have anticipated the breast implants, stripper shoes and duct tape shenanigans lurking in year 2013.  Times have changed.  I read somewhere that 40% of Millennials have ink. Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail, fits right in.

Her statement to the press:  “…Do you realize it would pave a path for a whole new audience to compete in the Miss America Organization?  Do you realize the stereotypes and stigmas it would break?”

Ummmmmm yes, Miss Kansas, I believe I DO realize this.

Do YOU realize that somewhere between Hannah Montana going off the air and the VMA’s, Miley Cyrus decided that “twerking” in front of millions of screaming teenagers was a good idea?  After all, it’s just a current dance move for heaven’s sake!


Miss Kansas, Theresa Vail

The tattoos running from Ms. Vail’s armpit to her hip feature the Serenity Prayer and a military medical insignia (she aspires to be a military dentist in the future).  Both are admirable concepts to scar one’s self with, I suppose.  (We have already discussed my confusion of wanting to brand your body with injectable dye.  Baffling)

It is worth noting that the tattoos would be completely private, “but for” the bikini competition.  Let’s just let that soak in a bit, shall we?

In 1989, the Miss America Organization decided to feature a “platform” concept.  Each contestant was required to choose an issue that, should she be crowned, would be her mission to highlight across the country for 12 months.  Good idea.

“Overcoming Stereotypes and Breaking Barriers” is the platform chosen by Miss Kansas.  First of all, there is NO WAY that she is the first beauty contestant with a tattoo.  Girls in the recent past have simply covered them with body make-up.

Secondly, where does this end?  Will next year feature lip and eyebrow rings?  Ear gauges?  Is her platform that pretty girls can disfigure themselves a little bit and still be pretty?


Who knows whether it was Theresa Vail herself or her marketing team that came up with the idea to focus on her tattoo rather than the fact that she has a 3.8 GPA or sings opera, but either way I find it disheartening.

Let me know how it turns out tonight….OK?  I won’t be watching.

Happy Weekend!

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One Comment

  1. Kate says:

    You think Miss America is creepy and sexist? What about lambasting a girl for having a tattoo– “disfiguring her body” as you say it. What, should her female body stay “pure” at the expense of self-expression? How dare she get a tattoo– doesn’t she know we want to look at her body and not have to read about her stupid girly opinions? No wonder she feels stereotyped.

    Jesus, I’m going to go get like ten tattoos, just because it means people like you will not want to interact with me.

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