Miss Universe and the obliteration of womanhood – Catholic Herald

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

There is an episode of Friends where single girl Phoebe struggles with the fact that the guy she is dating won’t sleep with her. She later proudly recounts to womaniser Joey how she convinced him to change his mind by reassuring him that sex doesn’t have to be a big deal and can just be about two people, in the moment, enjoying one another.  

Joey looks at her aghast and responds: “Let me get this straight. He got you to beg to sleep with him, he got you to say he never has to call you again and he got you thinking this is a great idea?” While he speaks Phoebe’s face begins to drop as she realises what she has done. Joey then exclaims: “This man is my God!” End scene.

But what was once an amusing scene in a sitcom is now a daily reality as many women have been hoodwinked into accommodating the desires of men at an as yet unrecognised cost to their dignity. 

On Sunday I watched women (I think) standing and cheering as Anne Jakrajutatip, the new biologically male owner of Miss Universe, gave a speech about women’s empowerment. “Welcome to the Miss Universe organisation,” he said. “From now on it’s going to be run by women, for all women, to celebrate the power of feminism, diverse cultures, social inclusion, gender equality, creativity, the force for good and of course the beauty of humanity.”

“Men are so versatile,” one commentator quipped, “they can even win against women in beauty pageants.”

Late last year Anne Jakrajutatip (born male, medically transformed to appear female) made headlines after buying the Miss Universe organisation for $20m.  On January 5 this year The Guardian reported: “In its 71 year history [Miss Universe] has been owned by a succession of men. Jakrajutatip is the first woman to own the company.”

It’s tempting just to laugh something like this off. Beauty pageants are ridiculous and not a hill an average looking person wants to die on, but it is a further reminder not just of how easily the distinctiveness of womanhood can become erased, but of how easy it has been to convince so many of them that this is an empowering move. 

Well, it isn’t.  It does not empower women who train their whole lives to become the best athlete they can be to be beaten easily by an average man.  It does not empower young girls encouraged to take part in a local pageant to get beaten by a young man in a dress called Brian. It does not empower women to be celebrated only when they adopt masculine roles.  It does not empower women in maternity wards to be referred to as chest feeders or birthing people or to be called menstruators and uterus-havers. It does not empower women to have their eggs extracted or to be used as hosts to provide two men with a baby that they would otherwise not be able to have. 

None of it empowers women. In fact, it does quite the opposite.

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Miss Universe and the obliteration of womanhood – Catholic Herald

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