It is not just that Miss California spoke her mind about gay marriage that makes this uniquely a feminist issue, but it does make her an asshole. For all the arguments defending her right to speak on this topic, to me, it is so sad that people so quickly fight to defend the rights of bigots to speak. So, I obviously fall too left of that argument to even participate in it. Or rather, I just agree with Jill,
It’s not “religious persecution” to say that someone is a bigot for having bigoted views. It’s not “religious persecution” to argue that those who want to deny basic civil rights based on sexual orientation are bigots. It would be persecution to, for example, pass a law stating that a consenting Christian adult wasn’t allowed to marry another consenting Christian adult because of his or her faith, or to criminalize consensual sex between adult Christians. That’s persecution. Not, “I didn’t win a beauty pageant and then Perez Hilton called me a bitch.”
As Jay Smooth pointed out in his video, the issue of pageantry and their role in our society raises bigger concerns. The reliance on heteronormativity and beauty standards in pageants is indeed a point of inquiry.
As a feminist, I hate when women’s breasts make the news, since it is rarely to uncover the sexism embedded within a system. The fact that Carrie Prejean got breast implants is not newsworthy to me. The fact that the California Pageant Association paid for them, well that is. Not because it is scandalous, but because it shows that pageants aren’t about highlighting women as they are or for their talents, but for their physical appearance and to make spectacle of a specific type of femininity.
Pageants only make sense because of binary gender roles that cater to mainstream understandings of femininity. They are a fetishized spectacle of femininity to the point where it is even OK if they are artificially constructed as long as they are pushing a normative ideal of what a “real woman” is. As feminists we know already that ideal is socially constructed. Her blatant homophobia just adds to the already established straight, cis-woman and white standard of beauty necessary for pageants to exist and to perpetuate the illusion of binary genders.