Don't Blame Steve Harvey for This Miss Universe Mess

Steve Harvey is burning up the Internets with his now infamous flub naming the wrong Miss Universe pageant winner. But we need to stop beating up on poor Steve! It's not his fault. It's hard to tell all those leggy fembots apart!


Can you imagine what those contestants must have been thinking? Actually, here at The Stir, we can ...

But we have to stop just ragging on poor Steve. See, when a group of women are reduced to little more than the scores assigned to each of their body parts, they're not people anymore -- they're objects. That makes it super hard to tell one from the next. Once you've seen 50 leggy, long-haired, spray-tanned, 6-foot-tall, 2-percent-body-fat, grinning specimens, they all start to look a lot alike. Easy mistake.

The public outcry over Harvey's screwup should instead be turned toward an insulting, outdated, and sexist beauty pageant industry dressed up as some "opportunity" for women. Bullshit.

Poor Steve took to Twitter following the painful TV reveal to apologize.

Miss Colombia and Miss Philippines. They don't even get to be called by their actual names -- just the countries that produced such prime, Grade-A lady meat.

Ariadna Gutierrez is the contestant from Colombia who was totally humiliated by having to give up her crown on live international television. Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is the contestant from the Philippines who had her big win totally marred by the production error. Let's at least call them by their government names.

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No shade to Pia or Ariadna for wanting the title. They're beautiful, they want to be on television, and this is probably the best opportunity for them to be seen by millions of people. Fine. In fact, they handled the whole screwup way better than Harvey, who gave an awkward explanation and stomped off the stage. Pia and Ariadna were professional, graceful, and couldn't have been lovelier about the whole mess.

But what's galling and needs to be called out is the Miss Universe machine that does everything it can to appear to be celebrating and empowering women all while stripping them of every shred of humanity in the name of something that's supposed to look like legit entertainment.

The one hard and fast rule of the pageant is that none of the contestants can be married or have ever been married. They're even disqualified if they've ever had an annulment. Forget about ever being pregnant. Why in the world would that possibly matter in a contest that was legitimately about beauty and talent?

The big prize, according to the Miss Universe pageant, is exposure on a media tour and sponsorship opportunities. Sure, the world needs spokesmodels and TV hosts and women who can wear an outfit like it's their job. But there's just something so creepy about this Miss Universe pageant business, and last night's gaffe was the perfect illustration of why the pageant concept is outdated, sexist, and just not fun to watch. The business of the Miss Universe pageant is to take away as much of a contestant's humanity as possible -- even her name -- and decide which one's more doable. That's it.

If you need any further evidence that the pageant is anti-women, consider that up until just a few months ago, the guy vying for the Misogynist in Chief position, Donald Trump, was the rotting bag of haggis behind the brand -- a fact he couldn't resist tweeting about.

Can't we do better than that by women in 2015? We can judge women on talent and beauty and recognize they're actual people, right? Can't women be sexy and desirable and not be a nameless mute who is forced to parade around like a prize pony? Gosh I really hope so.

So it's not really Harvey's fault for screwing up the names. It's everyone's fault who's still trying to pretend the Miss Universe pageant is something other than what it really is: a way to consume women's bodies without having to treat them like actual people -- you know, with names and stuff.


 Images via Miss Universe/Twitter; Fox

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