Beauty pageants are out of date

02:51, Jun 06 2012

The whole Miss Universe kerfuffle signals that the pageant is in its death throes.

For those few of you who are not avid followers of this fine competition: Miss Howick, Avianca Bohm, won the national final on Sunday. Lucky! That means she gets to go and parade herself in front of The Donald, who says things like, "My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body."

Pause for shudder.

Now it seems she may miss out on that treat of a lifetime. Because yesterday, it emerged that Avianca is not a New Zealand citizen. Which means she was not eligible to win. (It's unclear whether she was eligible to enter: the rules on the Miss Universe website say "to qualify for Miss Universe New Zealand" you must be a NZ citizen).

No-one's accusing Avianca of being sneaky here. She actually told pageant organiser Val Lott, who said she should enter anyway, because it would be confidence-boosting and great for Howick. Val says she gave the judges a heads-up that Avianca couldn't win. The judges gave the tiara to her anyway (and dispute Val's version of events).

Blah blah blah, he said she said, the interesting thing here is that a woman who was never going to win, was allowed to enter at all. I bet that's because they're not getting enough entrants. Which is great. In other encouraging news, the official Miss Universe entry form says they'll consider entrants for direct entry into the national competition "as there has been an absence of regional pageants in many regions". Brilliant. Well played, ladies of New Zealand.

I have heard a rumour, also, that pageant organisers are paying promo models to enter competitions, simply to make up numbers. I have no idea whether this involves Miss Universe and I am not saying that it does. But I'm not surprised. I've always wondered where they get these girls from. I mean, are there really that many conventionally beautiful, poised, sweet, safely non-controversial women aged between 18 and 27, who have the time and energy (but not necessarily talent: there is no 'talent' section in Miss Universe, they've put that in bold on their website so all you stupid talented women don't miss it) to enter a thing like this? Who WANT to win a competition that means Donald Trump gets to ogle them?

Would you ever enter one of these pageants? Would you let your daughter enter? Will you celebrate with me when beauty pageants finally give up the ghost?