Watch: John Oliver takes on the Miss America Pageant

We gave this John Oliver segment on the Miss America Pagent a shout-out in the DFCS yesterday, but, goddamn, it deserves its own post. Feminist critiques of beauty pageants are certainly nothing new, of course,  but Oliver’s absolute incredulity that Miss America is still a thing in 2014 is really charming and contagious.

Dispensing with the absurdity of an event in which a “fully clothed man stand[s] in front of a line of women in swimsuits awaiting judgement, he goes on to fact-check Miss America’s assertation that they provide $45 million in scholarship funds for women every year. It turns out that number is wildly misleading–and yet, sadly, the pagent’s claim to be the world’s largest provider of scholarships for women is actually accurate. Oliver helpfully shout-outs a few other women’s scholarship funds that do not require applicants to certify that they have never before been married or pregnant and then waltz around in a bikini in order to compete.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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