Maybe meaningless pageant contests actually do have a future. The winners of these things — Miss USA, Miss America, Miss Universe, Miss Texarkana (does that one exist?) — have been drowned out of pop culture by real housewives and gym, tanning, laundry enthusiasts. But perhaps there’s a way to integrate winners of these contests in the very place they were meant to perform: social causes.
Miss New York Claire Buffie won this year’s contest on a “platform” of supporting same-sex marriage, a unique concept to the lawmakers of her state. And while it’s easy to ignore the limited media attention she’s drawn, what we have here is a beauty pageant winner who’s not just making appearances at local urban youth centers (still an important thing to do!) but tackling one of the last civil rights battles in America. Buffie, to her credit, isn’t just focused on marriage; she understands equality is about children, too.
On MSNBC yesterday, Thomas Roberts asked her whether Buffie thought her chances at the Miss America crown would be hurt by her views on marriage equality. It’s becoming increasingly clear that’s the wrong question to ask. The correct one is: Does Buffie think other contestants not supporting same-sex marriage will hurt their chances?