COMMENTARY: Dwindling opportunities to judge womens’ appearances


Oh no! I, a Reasonable Man, am devastated to learn there is no longer a swimsuit portion in the Miss America competition! And the evening-wear portion is now whatever the contestants want to wear, which could be anything at all, and which might be a bulky and functional tarpaulin that would delight my eyes not one whit!

This is egregious! If there is no bathing- suit competition, when can I hope to judge women on their appearance, except on dating apps, >> or when they appear on television to talk about the lifesaving surgery they just performed on a pair of conjoined twins, >> or when they are serving me at a Hooters restaurant, >> or a regular restaurant, >> or when they’re bringing me a cup of cranberry-apple juice on an airplane, >> or when they are applying for a job, >> or when I am reading their scholarly research articles online and there isn’t even a picture so I have to Google the name and cannot even be sure that the appearance of the person I am criticizing is the relevant person, >> or when they make a YouTube video, >> or when a man does something awful to them and they appear in court to testify about it, >> or when they are running for office, >> or when they are on television telling me the weather, >> or when they are trying to ask a question during a news conference, >> or when they are representing the country at the Olympics, >> or when they are walking in front of me on the sidewalk, >> or when they are my colleague, >> or when I am suggesting that they reallocate their sexual resources in a rational manner (I suggest this completely dispassionately with no self-interest whatsoever, and I have devised a complex numerical system), >> or when they perform music on national television, >> or when they are engaging in activism to end gun violence, >> or when they are the first lady or the former first lady, >> or when they are in a Star Wars movie and I didn’t like the Star Wars movie, >> or when they are on the receiving end of sexual advances from the president, >> or when they work for the president, >> or when they work against the president, >> or when they appear on the cover of magazines, >> or when they write something and put it online and I had to squint at the avatar which was one inch by one inch and conclude, from this highly pixelated monstrosity, that I Would Not Bang, >> or when they are on the radio, which takes real effort, >> or when they wrote a novel in the 18th century, >> or when they are a character in an ongoing fantasy epic, >> or when someone wants to put them on currency, >> or on Thursdays?

Except for these scant few contexts, I will have nothing! The swimsuit contest must be saved.

Already, this has gone too far.

Alexandra Petri is a columnist for the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow her @petridishes.