I have been trying to ignore this woman, but…

Miss California Carrie Prejean is under the impression that released photos of her topless are political retribution:

“My comments defending traditional marriage have led to intimidation tactics that seek to undermine my reputation and somehow silence me and my beliefs, as if opinion is only a one-way street.”

Admittedly, had she not become a lightning rod of the same-sex marriage debate, I wouldn’t have looked at this article. But that doesn’t mean she caught a political hit. Ask Vanessa Williams, the first African American to win the Miss America crown, only to lose it when Penthouse printed nude shots from earlier in her modeling career. Was Williams exposed because she is black? No, Penthouse was capitalizing on her fame and beauty, as well as the scandal publishing the photos created. Williams and Prejean — and any other famous woman whose nip has slipped or who wore a skirt — are targets of sexist voyeurism and double standards.

Prejean is in danger of losing her title for displaying her body in ways that the Miss California pageant committee does not approve of — because nothing ensures “the highest ethical and moral standards” like a bikini competition? Whether or not she was 17, as she claims, when the pictures were taken is besides the point. Turning 18 doesn’t guarantee better judgment, for one thing; nor does it automatically protect your body exploitation by unscrupulous photographers (or whomever released the photos.) Mind you, if she was 17, doesn’t that run afoul of child pornography laws? Shouldn’t the beauty contest officials be more concerned about THAT? Instead of condemning her, should they not at least express concern that someone took advantage of her?

Mind you, I don’t know who took the photos. Her boyfriend? Her BFF? Perhaps the photos are really an instance in the ongoing phenomena of young people’s comfort with personal expression, exhibitionism, playing with their privacy limits, “sexting” and so on that have been enabled by access to digital and communications technologies. You know, the stuff confused parents lose their minds about. Being a parent, I get that, even if I think people really need to calm the fuck down (and, ya know, use child porn laws against real child pornographers, say.) I don’t get the position of the beauty pageant officials, who sit and judge women’s bodies as walking clothes racks for evening gowns and swim suits.

Prejean would be better off taking on that hypocrisy than wasting her time portraying an obvious tabloid culture opportunism as an attempt to “silence” her views, however bigoted they are.

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