Last weekend was a double whammy for two groups that have longed to be viewed differently by the public: women and the gay/lesbian community. But are two key events holding back these groups?
On Sunday, the flag-waving flamboyant Pride parade happened in Winnipeg and at night Miss USA was crowned following a gruelling night of smiling, waving and being objectified. And if you have never been to either event and only judged it by what you see on TV, those could very well be your sentiments.
I’ve never been to Winnipeg’s Pride, though I did cover Jasper’s and Puerto Vallarta’s for radio broadcasts a few years ago. In Jasper it was a very low-key event that didn’t involve rowdiness or a parade of half-naked people and drag queens flouncing around. In fact, aside from the odd rainbow decoration you wouldn’t have even known it was a gay event.
There was a sense of inclusion for everybody: out-of-towners, locals, gay, straight, white, black. It had a real community vibe. It was more of a social thing. In Jasper the saying was, “It doesn’t matter who you love, it matters that you love.”
And in Mexico, yes, the skin was showing and the sexually charged side of Pride was definitely noticeable. But it is antics like that that make a lot of people in the gay community distance themselves from such shenanigans.
“It’s a spectacle I don’t believe in,” wrote Charles in an email to me. “It gives people the impression that we all prance around in feathers and boas and open-mouth kiss each other for shock value. Many of us are ashamed to see how Pride is portrayed.”
On the Miss USA side of things we know what those pageants consist of: beauty, big smiles and boobs.
“If you want viewers to take these women seriously, don’t have a round where they are rated from one to 10 based solely on what they look like in a bathing suit,” wrote Samantha in an email. “To see these people answer questions about world peace and racism is laughable when moments later they strut back and forth posing half-naked and a bunch of ratings are flashed on the screen.”
The argument can be made that these beauty pageant contestants are more brain than bust but the overall public perception is they are bimbos.
I guess the story here is that you will never have an event that truly represents the diversity in our society. You’ll always have people who fall outside of the expectation held by the public.
We need to remember that just because someone belongs to a certain group or demographic they don’t necessarily fit into the cookie-cutter? image of what we’re made to think.