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The Internet Is Devouring Miss Utah and It's Not Really Fair

by Kate Ayer
- Posted // 2013-06-17 -

Was the answer bad? Yes. Could she have done better? Yes. But, was the question fair? No.

Last night’s Miss USA Pageant, which was held in Las Vegas, could have ended better for Utah contestant Marissa Powell. Not just because she lost, but because she completely tanked her interview question.

As a finalist, Miss Powell made it to the Q&A portion of the pageant. For those of you at work, here’s the question she was asked:

"A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does this say about society?”

What exactly is this question asking? What does it say about society that women are the primary earners in 40 percent of American families with children? Or what does it say about society that women continue to earn less than men? Which question was Miss Powell supposed to answer?

Unfortunately, she didn’t answer either of them. Instead, her reply was:

“I think we can relate this back to education and how we are continuing to try to strive to … figure out how to create jobs. Right now, that is the biggest problem. I think, especially the men, are, um, seen as the leaders of this. And so we need to try to figure out how to create education better, so that we can solve this problem. Thank you.”

What do you expect? A Reuters answer from an up-and-coming economics specialist? This is a beauty pageant, after all. Contestants are given 30 seconds to answer questions on topics around which entire careers are centered. And at least it wasn't this:

And considering that Utah is infamous for its low-budget education system, maybe we should take a cue from Miss Powell and "create education better." Then maybe our beauty-pageant contestants would be better-equipped to answer tough questions instead of becoming the latest Internet prey.

Here’s what it comes down to: We don’t know her. She may be kind, or funny, or maybe even smart under different circumstances. But what we do know is she’s beautiful, she has a constructive hobby, and she isn’t able to bullshit a 30-second response. The question wasn't asking for an intelligent answer, it was asking, "How good are you at speaking in front of a camera?"

It would have been appropriate if she had just swapped a few words; here, let's try it: “I think we can relate this back to (bullying) and how we are continuing to strive to figure out how to (end bullying). Right now, that is the biggest problem. I think, especially (people), are, um, seen as (different). And so we need to try to figure out how to create (tolerance) so that we can solve this problem. Thank you.”

Now, all we can do is wait for Chris Crocker to chime in:

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REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // June 18,2013 at 17:33

Utah finally gets a winning contestant, and unfortuately doesnt answer the question. . . She should have one hands down. . . . None of the questions asked were really answered that well by any of the contestants.  And, really the judges they had, were no more qualified to judge a beauty contest, little alone judge public speaking abilities. . . . USA could of won back to back crowns if they would of picked Utah. . . . Even if they usually dont let the country who won the year before win again. . . . Too bad for Miss Utah. . . She was awsome. . .

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // June 17,2013 at 22:13

I agree with the first comment. People who are going to be in the public eye, participate in a debate, run for office or participate in a contest generally practice speaking with friends, coaches or mirrors. I have very little sympathy for a gorgeous young women, who is apparently a University student who did not think to take a short time  away from curling her eyelashes or adding extensions to her hair to just sit down and practice stock answers to probable questions. One knows you will be put on the spot. One is aware that someone is going to ask about bullying, women's pay or world peace. Have a stock answer so you sound more like Hillary Clinton than Sarah Palin talking  about Paul Revere.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // June 17,2013 at 22:06

I think someone should investigate the question.  A recent report from whom? What credibility does that report have? That is a truly unbelievable stat, and no one seems to be questioning the woman who presented the question from that perspective. Usually you cite a credible source, which she certainly didn’t.

 

REPLY TO THIS COMMENT
Posted // June 17,2013 at 15:19

I respectfully disagree with the author of this piece.  How hard would it have been to say, "It's a sign that women have come a long way in the last 80 years, and that we have a ways left to go in terms of equality. "

 

Posted // June 18,2013 at 20:12 - I guess it wasn't hard to answer the question now that you've had 2 days to read or hear about this and think about what you would say. Miss Powell was asked the question while under stress, at least a week or two of very little sleep, in front of millions of people, all while standing in 6 inch heels. I argue that anyone put into those conditions would have a hard time answering the question, "What do you want for lunch?" I agree with the author of this article: the question was unfair to ask in the first place.

 

 
 
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