Why Are We Surprised Miss Utah (seems to be) an Idiot?


In the wake of the Miss USA 2013 pageant, the news is buzzing with talk of Miss Utah, Marissa Powell’s, epic crash and burn during the question segment. Judge Nene Leakes asked her the following question:

“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?”

Giving the worst answer since Miss Teen South Carolina, Caitlin Upton’s cringe worthy reponse in 2007, Powell responded with:

“I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are … continuing to try to strive to [epic pause] figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem. And 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 educate better so we can solve this problem. Thank you.”

Both women—South Carolina and Utah—displayed their lack of education while attempting to answer questions relating to education in America. Oh, the shame. Oh, the irony.

Perhaps neither pageanteer is actually stupid, they just spent more time preparing for the bathing suit contest than for the Q&A segment. Intelligence isn’t exactly a staple of pageant culture, and the majority of the women participating in Miss USA have been a part of the pageant scene from a young age. From toddlers to adults, they are encouraged to be beautiful and thin—intelligence doesn’t exactly enhance the makeup and hairspray, after all.

Syd Brown, a child and adolescent psychologist practicing in Maryland, is concerned that pageants impede healthy and natural child development. “What they are learning basically is that they have one characteristic which is of total primary importance, and that is their body and their attractiveness,” he said.

If a woman focuses almost entirely on beauty and poise from childhood, it seems that ignorance would be a systemic (and expected) result. So why is the news abuzz with Miss Utah’s spectacularly stupid answer?

Because it’s entertaining.

And there is Miss Utah’s silver lining. Maybe everyone will laugh at her shame in the near future, just as they did with Miss Teen South Carolina in 2007. If we laugh long enough, I’m sure Powell will become the star of her own Tosh.O “web redemption,” becoming as equally famous off her stupidity as Upton has.

And in other unrelated news, Miss Connecticut won the pageant.