The beauty pageant supported by The Ink People ("Really?" June 30) represents yet another form of the highly constrictive and narrowly defined version of the female our young girls are steeped in. Is it a horrendous, dangerous or violent activity? Not necessarily on its own, but it needs to be seen together with all the other horribly oppressive versions of female identity our girls are inundated with on a daily basis.
Think of the onslaught of hetero-"princess" themed movies telling our young girls to stick with a beastly man who is abusive, because someday he'll change (if you're pretty enough and kind enough). Or the one that encourages the mutilation of one's body and the sacrifice of voice when the right man comes along (and don't forget to leave your entire family who support and love you the way you are). Or the one telling girls you don't even have to be alive to be kissed by the man of your dreams.
Think of the clothing corporations selling padded bikinis to our 6-year-olds, or underwear declaring overtly sexualized messages to 4-year-olds, or shirts for young girls with messages about how math and science aren't for them, but they'll definitely steal your boyfriend with one shake of the booty. These are all messages of misogyny that are in the air we breathe and the water we drink. The Ink People ought to be ashamed of themselves for organizing this beauty pageant and supporting the idea that young girls are nothing more than the value of their curled hair and beautiful dresses ("I'm not really good at anything...").
As a mother of two daughters, a woman of this community and a social worker who has worked with numerous populations, I implore the Ink People to hold a pageant celebrating the artistry of young women, a collective coming together of females celebrating the cycles of womanhood, or a rightfully angry group of people discussing and brainstorming artistic ways to denounce violence against women and children. Something, anything, that doesn't simply regurgitate the mass poison fed our girls and women. I'd be happy to volunteer some time.
Anna Kanouse-Tempelaere, Eureka