Letter: Miss Strawberry Days
I’m Miss Strawberry Days 2017. I’m also a staunch feminist. Somehow I think our community has gotten the idea that the two are mutually exclusive, but I assure you that they are not.
I was so excited to read Ms. Whitley’s recent column because I hoped she would shine light on a part of our society that remains locked in the 1950s. She did, and I applaud her because I agree 100 percent that oftentimes women are held to different standards than men, and it’s outrageous.
However, I was disappointed to realize that Ms. Whitley didn’t research the scholarship competition as thoroughly as I hoped. You see, her advice to have interviews in professional wear and a question-and-answer portion already exist. Unfortunately, I think her credibility regarding the competition was harmed and her truly important thoughts on sexism in our society were lost in the shadows.
Still, Ms. Whitley showed respect for the participants. My main concern is the older men who thought it appropriate to shame the girls who participate and take the rather sexist and outdated point of view to “never let their daughters participate” on Facebook. I was taken aback by this. You’d never “let” your daughters work their butts off for scholarship money? You’d never “let” your daughters showcase their confidence and community service?
Because, and I believe this was made clear with my winning, considering that I am an average-looking girl with cerebral palsy and no bikini body, Miss Strawberry Days is about who we are and what we do in the world, not how we look in a bikini in the fashion show.
So please excuse me, gentlemen, if I’m offended. This competition is not “nonsense,” and my parents didn’t “let” me do it. They supported my efforts to ease the pain of college tuition.
The girls I met are some of the most amazing and strong women ever. The wonderful organizers of the competition brought in a motivational speaker whose entire point was to not let societal expectations dim our confidence. Like I said, I’m a feminist, and I’m Miss Strawberry Days 2017, and I’m beyond proud to be both.
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