Indiana's Miss America

January 26, 2009
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For the first time in the 88 years of the Miss America pageant, the winner is from Indiana. Katie Stam, a University of Indianapolis communications major, hails from Seymour.

Stam, 22, plans to emphasize community service as a goodwill ambassador for pageant partner Childrenâ??s Miracle Network.

What are your thoughts about the pageant or, for that matter, the broader pageant culture? Is it the wholesome slice of Americana as organizers like to portray it? A beauty contest with token side shows?

And what about University of Indianapolis hopes for a windfall of good PR? Will having a Miss America from campus help the institution?
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  • All I'm sayin' is, if it is truly a scholarship competition as they say, why are they STILL wearing bathing suits and evening gowns? And why the singing/dancing talent? If they want to select an attractive, well-spoken person to promote American ideals nationally and abroad, I say dump the bathing suits and the talent portion and emphasize congeniality, poise and intelligence.
  • We have competitions from athletics to Texas Hold'em, and I don't see where a vigorous bout of mano e mano poise is any different. I think the old pageant formula (I want to make the world happy with my singing!) has pretty well gone by the wayside and that these are seasoned and ambitious women who want to trade in on skills other than simple good looks and big hair.

    As for the good looks, that we gravitate to the pretty is a sad fact of life that turns up in all situations - even in presidential elections.
  • Even though UINDY is doing reasonablly well as it is, they get this PR event. I went there until 2006 and they had crowding of the dorms, lunch room packed the majority of the day, clubs and social events out the wahzoo, and the classes had a healthy amount of students. I do hope this puts this decent working school over the top to become a well known school (like IUPUI, Ball State, Bluter, and IU/PU).

    I have not been a fan of the pageants because of how some people (from the pageant) that I have came across has acted in public (around me, atleast). I am not saying all of them are that way. I am sure that Stam is a nice enjoyable person to be around. I just hope that she can help change the steriotype of these pageants. and bring a brighter light on them and a better outlook in the way we view them.
  • These young ladies are tough Competitors, and I think what they do expresses a worthy American ideal. Yes, the beauty part makes for good TV, which may bother some print media types, but the resumes of these beauty queens do seem to indicate that they are formidable young women.
  • Doesn't the name say it all? Beauty Pageant. That's what it is - a beauty contest. This event is an outdated, archaic tradition that started right after women won the right to vote. Imagine that, creating something that would take women's minds off of those pesky little details in life...voting, education, equal rights, etc. It was created to put women back in their place. Well, no thanks. Women have come too far to keep up such demeaning contests. In the 1950s I can see this having some significance, even in the 1980s, but now in 2009? Really? Haven't we evolved out of this by now. Perhaps when we do have a woman president, women around the country and the world will see their greater value and refuse to be lined up to be bought and sold (or voted on!) C'mon ladies, we are better than this!

    I agree with JM above, if it is all about intelligent young women who will be sitting in the corner office some day, what does it matter what they look like in a bathing suit? Let the pageant evolve with society and perhaps it won't be so offensive to intelligent women and girls.
  • And exactly why are beautiful women offensive to intelligent women and girls? Could it be what they see in the mirror or just the good looking guys that scorned them.

    I have never been able to compete with good looking males. It never offended me and I just keep working with what the best the good Lord gave me.
  • The women are talented and intelligent. But the No. 1 criteria to get in is beauty. So it's a beauty pageant with side shows -- side shows with substance, but they don't obscure the reason for the pageant in the first place. I agree they continue to objectify women.
  • While the beauty portion of the pageant may truly objectify the contestants, the talent and discussion sessions are intended to balance the focus in order to see the whole of the women involved. For those that choose to compete, why is that so bad?

    For me, the swimsuit competitiion is but a glance of the person, the talent and discussion is a greater glimpse of their being and perhaps helps me the viewer understand what they are made of. Isn't that what the creator intended?
  • Some thoughts on Miss America:

    -I'm from New Jersey. The pageant meant something to the state when it was in Atlantic City. It had personality. Now, well...

    --I was also a judge for the Miss Indiana pageant one year (feeding into Miss America) and was amazed by the amount of charitable work and positive stuff these young women were involved in. Yes, I'm sure a percentage of it was to make them more pageant-friendly but, still, it was a very impressive group.

    --Most of the off-stage, preliminary competition has to to with the interview. That's usually trivialized in the broadcast.

    --All that being said, only a certain range of physical types will ever make it into the pageant.

    --Lou
  • As an alum and adjunct faculty member from UIndy, I was thrilled that Katie represented our state and our institution so well. Our university has strong academic programs and many very successful students. It is nice that it is getting some well deserved highlighting as the institution that Katie chose to further her education.

    Regardless of how you feel about pageants overall, most of the contestants, as Katie exemplifies, are intelligent, well rounded young ladies who are involved with many charities and worth while organizations and who provide a good role model for others.

    Instead of debating the worthiness of pageants, I would think Hoosiers would be celebrating Katie's accomplishment. I know that I am thankful that such an articulate, bright young lady represented our community with such success. It is refreshing that the spotlight is on our state for such a positive reason!
  • The beauty pageant is reflective of what goes on in the real world. Intelligence, charity, talent are desired, but the bottom line is good looks. It's a qualifer for marriage and even employment.

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