Many people have expressed their appreciation to Carrie Prejean, Miss California, for taking a stand for her belief in traditional marriage – and rightly so. But the folks at Her.meneutics raise an interesting question about the Miss USA pageant in general.
What has surprised me about the Christian media’s response is a seemingly inconsistent sexual ethic at play: Celebrating Prejean as the lone voice for biblical convictions in a public square where it’s now bigoted to oppose same-sex marriage, while never questioning if a Christian woman like Prejean should be participating in the Miss USA pageant in the first place.
It doesn’t take much time on the official Miss USA website to see how much the competition is shaped by prurient interests. Unlike the rival Miss America competition, Miss USA doesn’t feature a talent category, where contestants play the piano, sing, or orate. No, the Donald Trump–owned Miss USA pageant only features evening gown, interview, and the ever-popular swimsuit category, in which contestants are judged on how “well-proportioned” their bodies are (i.e., bust and waist size) and how well they can strut in high heels on national television. Maybe some Christian women feel like the ministry opportunities that could come from winning far outweigh the troubling sexual implications of the swimsuit category. Maybe I’m naïve — maybe some Christians don’t see anything particularly troubling about a swimsuit competition. But I’m hard pressed to reconcile a swimsuit competition with Scripture’s wisdom about real self-worth and female beauty (Prov. 31:10–31, 1 Sam. 16:7, 1 Pet. 3:3, to name a few).
Therein lies the troubling inconsistency: Conservative Christians are willing to speak up about biblical sexual ethics in the public square when the issue is same-sex marriage, but are neglectfully silent when the issue is objectifying women’s bodies to spike TV ratings . . .
What do you think? Is this an issue we’ve overlooked?