Miss Universe and US Hegemony in Beauty Pageants

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 12/25/2015 05:18:00 PM
"Yay, the Americans declared me winner of an 'international' event!"
Given my nationality, I suppose I shouldn't complain too much about the outcome of the 2015 Miss Universe pageant. Still, one thing that struck me is that, despite the obviously commercial nature of these pageants--to paraphrase Robert Cox, they wouldn't be held if they didn't make money for someone--American hegemony is all too apparent for what is ostensibly an "international" competition. For a long time, the franchise was owned by real-estate, er, impresario Donald Trump. Then, late this year, it was sold together with the Miss USA property as legal settlement after the the broadcaster NBC had a falling out with Trump in the aftermath of calling Mexicans "rapists" and offending the entire Latin America.

The interesting thing is that alike Mr. Trump, the new owner--events organizer IMG (sports, media, and fashion), is very much an American organization. If Miss Universe were truly an "international" event, then its participation would be truly representative. Yes, the contestants represent several countries the world over which do not mind young women parading in skimpy outfits. But no, the judges are actually...very, very Amerocentric. The global headline-grabbing gaffe of an American host declaring the runner-up as winner brought this to light as far as I'm concerned:
The panel of judges included [celebrity blogger Perez] Hilton, Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, comedian Niecy Nash, and former football star Emmitt Smith.
Come to think of it, it's all too frequent that finals judges are American for a supposedly "universal" event. Call it another example of American hegemony that has gone unnoticed. By virtue of the event's organizers being American, so too are the judges of "global" beauty standards. In other words, the winner must invariably cater to what Americans would consider as attractive. 

Oh well, I suppose it's better to sort out hiring a host who has no problems reading cue cards first. And it's still better than having Mike Tyson as one of the celebrities promoting a beauty pageant. Speaking of whom, maybe Manny Pacquiao can be invited to judge again.

What is the selection criteria for being a judge for one of these things anyway? It seems that professionalization has not yet reached the ranks of beauty contest judges.