Jan 30, 2008

The New Miss America To Promote Eating Disorder Awareness

Ahhh, the good ol' Miss America pageant. As a little girl I used to watch this "scholarship" contest with my mom. If I had lived in the South, I probably would've made her enter me in a few pageants, Thank God she occupied my spare time with soccer, ice skating, gymnastics, tennis lessons, etc. Anyway, this year the pageant got a makeover. The 23 year-old contestants actually look their age for a change! I didn't watch much of the show, just the talent competition.

FYI: Miss USA does not have a talent competition; that's the best way to compare the two pageants. One is based on looks, while the other is based on looks, talent and brains. Am I being too biased? Just because The Donald owns Miss USA, former Miss USA Tara Connor went to rehab and the 3rd runner-up of Miss Teen USA didn't know like such as the Iraq and the Mexico were on a like map or something doesn't mean the pageant is totally based on looks, does it?

Anyway back to Miss America. The winner Miss Michigan Kristen Haglund will take on a close to home platform on eating disorder awareness and promoting healthy body images for teenage girls. Here is some information I gathered from an AP article:

Just three years ago, newly crowned Miss America Kirsten Haglund was eating tiny portions of food and became so thin her concerned parents "dragged me to the doctor."

Haglund was diagnosed with anorexia. The lack of nutrition caused her collar bones to stick out, her heart rate to drop and her relationships to suffer.

To win her crown, the Farmington Hills native sang "Over the Rainbow" and walked a crowd-pleasing strut in a black and gold bikini.

"You have to have curves," she said. "You can't look like a stick-thin model."

The AP reported that the aspiring Broadway star even ate the silver medallion chocolates left on her pillow in her hotel suite in Las Vegas.

"Yes, oh my gosh, yes," she gushed. "I love chocolate. Chocolates are a girl's best friend."

The 5'8" blonde said she does not disclose her weight to avoid setting standards for youths obsessed with getting lighter.

Haglund said she stopped pursuing her dream of becoming a professional ballerina to escape an environment in which she was rewarded for being slim and an industry that she said sweeps concerns about eating disorders under the rug.

While the teen said she wasn't about to "let myself go," she didn't plan to skip any meals over her crowning year.

A) I applaud her for not disclosing her weight! I think that she is smart and hopefully will be a great role model, because well, young teenage girls need one! I will be keeping an eye on this Kristen character. I wasn't exactly a fan of her version of "Over the Rainbow" though. In the oft-repeated words of a certain American Idol judge, "Why would you pick a song that doesn't fit within your vocal range?"

B) Was it necessary to ask a former anorexic if she ate the chocolate? And was it necessary to ask a former anorexic if she was going to let herself go? Clearly the writer of this article has never battled an eating disorder.

C) As terrible as some beauty pageants seem at such young ages, this opportunity does open a lot of doors for young women. I am happy to see some one win that seems like they have their head on straight, and can be a positive influence, but the real question seems to me, "Are beauty pageants the right outlet for someone recovering from an eating disorder? Kristen left ballet so that the thin-pressure would no longer be a factor, but from watching the TV broadcast for 30 minutes, the hosts said TWICE after eliminating some of the contestants, "OK now you can go backstage and eat carbs." When did Atkins come back in style? And why aren't the contestants eating carbs?


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