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Letter to the Editor: Is Anyone Else Bothered By Rochester Queen's Pageant?

In such tough times it is irresponsible for our community to invest so much money and time into this type of event.

Dear Patch,

For the past few days I'd been wondering if I'm the only person in the Rochester area who is really bothered by hearing about the

Today when I started talking about it with others in our community I found that many of us are bothered. Seriously, who is starting a pageant in 2011 in the middle of an economic crisis? Did you totally miss the Women’s Liberation Movement? Don't we want our young girls to build self-esteem in ways that aren't about competing to see who is the prettiest and most talented?

Does it bother you that only young women with access to significant money (through their families or business sponsorships they acquire) are able to participate in this opportunity?

The winners receive scholarships (1st place is $1,000 which after the cost of entering and dressing up will leave just about enough money to buy a three-ring binder at college). This also sounds a lot like something that would be created in Rochester just because somebody’s daughter on the planning team wants to win.

I have nothing at all against the teen girls who participate and I'm sure that some people have had great experiences with pageants, but in such tough times it is irresponsible for our community to invest so much money and time into this type of event. When we have so many families struggling to put food on the table, I'm sad that individuals and businesses here would use their limited charitable donations to sponsor a pageant. You could even use the money to create a job for a nice deserving person who is out of work in this economy. This new "tradition" doesn't say anything good about our community, only that we sound shallow, elitist and, frankly, clueless.

Teen Girls: You don't need a contest to tell you that you are beautiful, talented, and have strong character! Just be yourself, work hard in school, and after high school you’ll realize that you are the only judge that matters!

Parents: Love your teen girls and let them know how great they are! If they need some poise and self-esteem connect them to sports, music, drama or community service.

Businesses: In case no one has told you yet, sponsoring a pageant really makes you look bad (icky, dirty old man-ish) to many of us in the community. Genisys Credit Union won’t be getting any of my business because of what this sponsorship says to me about their company. If you need suggestions for charitable donations that will make a bigger local impact and give you positive press, please contact me and I am happy to connect you with some genuine local community needs.

Pageant organizers: Do you realize that the name "MISS ROCHESTER QUEENS PAGEANT" sounds like it's a drag show? If it is a drag show, I'll be there. If it’s just a pageant, I’m disappointed that you aren’t finding ways to contribute to community projects that get more bang for the buck.

Sincerely,

Amanda Itliong, Rochester Hills

Send letters to the editor to Rochester Patch editor Kristin Bull. Please include your hometown. Letters may be edited for length.

Bonnie Ream October 14, 2011 at 11:37 AM
When my husband and I read about the pageant in our local paper, we were thrilled - as was our 17 year old. We have 4 daughters, ranging in age from 3 to 20, who are all confident, well-loved, talented & smart. Our 17 year old, a senior at SCHS, used to be painfully shy & no activity she participated in was helping her overcome her fears of speaking to people or in front of them. On the advice of a friend, I reluctantly signed her up for a national, natural pageant when she was 8 years old & it worked wonders! She only did 2 pageants at the time but she recently began asking - well begging actually - to do some more. The beauty of the Miss Rochester pageant is that she will be able to participate in a pageant again AND further her career goals all while being active in the community, a combination she loves. First, this is a wonderful opportunity for young women in our area to network & make business contacts - our daughter, in particular, plans to open a business in the downtown area as part of her 5 year plan and the visibility she will get as a contestant in this pageant is beyond priceless.
Bonnie Ream October 14, 2011 at 11:38 AM
Second, the entrance fee is nominal - it costs far less than participating in a sport or club at the local high school and is hundreds to thousands less than other pageants. The prizes, gifts and services provided to the contestants are donations from local businesses and are not paid for by the city or taxpayers. The clothing expense is irrelevant - clothing is not judged and girls this age have prom dresses in their closet to use (although a local business is considering lending dresses to the contestants) & business suits are something women this age either have or should be adding to their wardrobe for college/career interviews anyway. Third, there are plenty of events this city has organized that I find little to no value in but I don't go around demanding that they be canceled, placing my value system and beliefs above others in the community. If you don't see the value in this event, simply don't sponsor a contestant or attend - but don't deny young women in our community the opportunities this event will bring to their lives just because you don’t value it (or haven’t taken the time to understand it).
Bonnie Ream October 14, 2011 at 11:38 AM
Fourth, the contestants will go through interviews with area business leaders, answer questions under pressure on stage, prepare and perform a talent all while being poised and confident. Anyone who thinks those attributes and learning experiences are worthless or easy to come by is mistaken. The purpose of the women's movement was not to move control of the opportunities for women from the hands of a few select males to the hands of a few select females but was meant to empower women, young and old, to seek out a path in life that meets their individual needs and goals without anyone else’s interference. Finally, this event is nothing like the “glitz” pageants portrayed on television and MOST pageant contestants are not judged on their physical beauty. However, confidence is beautiful, the expression of talent is beautiful and intelligence is beautiful - so when the term beauty pageant is thrown about, I cannot deny that the term applies...
Bonnie Ream October 14, 2011 at 11:55 AM
Fourth, the contestants will go through interviews with area business leaders, answer questions under pressure on stage, prepare and perform a talent all while exhibiting poise and confidence. I can assure you, those attributes and learning experiences are not worthless or easy to come by. The purpose of the women’s movement was not to move control of women's opportunities from the hands of a few select males to the hands of a few select females - it was meant to empower women, young and old, to seek out paths in life that meet their individual needs & goals without having to conform to the ideals of others. Ironically, pageants further the movements intended goals in ways that are superior to any other activity my daughters have been involved in, including Girl Scouts, soccer, dance, cheer, NHS, student council and YBP . Pageants provide girls with an opportunity to develop, practice & perfect the verbal & life skills necessary for a successful career by teaching girls the importance of working hard to achieve a goal, the connection between practicing & mastering a skill, the importance of communication & so many other necessary character-building traits that I could not list them all here even if I tried.
Bonnie Ream October 14, 2011 at 11:55 AM
Finally, just to clear up any confusion, this event is nothing like the “glitz” pageants portrayed on television and most pageant contestants are not judged on their physical beauty. However, confidence is beautiful, talent is beautiful and intelligence is beautiful - so when the term beauty pageant is thrown about, I cannot deny that the term beauty pageant applies...

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