An overweight bloke just won a Miss America beauty pageant

The first trans winner of ‘Miss Greater Derry’ has put the misogyny of transgenderism on full display.

Jo Bartosch

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Topics Feminism Identity Politics USA

Did you know that men’s legs, which tend to have better muscle definition than women’s, are often used to advertise hosiery? It seems men really do make the best women sometimes. Further proof of this came this week when a 19-year-old bloke called Brían was crowned ‘Miss Greater Derry’ at a Miss America beauty pageant. To look at the photos, one could be forgiven for thinking it was a social-media hoax. A woman of his, let’s say, bulk would have been laughed off stage.

Yet, with well-practised smiles, the losing contestants cooed as the overweight teenager kneeled down so that a delicate, diamante tiara could be placed on his head. Following the coronation, Brían didn’t give the typical beauty-queen speech calling for an end to war or cruelty to animals. Rather, he took to Instagram to boast that he had become ‘the FIRST transgender woman to be a Miss America local titleholder’ in the 100-odd year history of the contest.

Ordinarily, I would refrain from making personal comments about the appearance of a teenager of either sex. And as a middle-aged, slowly sagging midget with a fashion sense that would put a home-educated child to shame, I am well aware that I have never been and will never be beauty-pageant material. But beauty queens are usually judged, at least in part, on their looks. It is part of the deal. So you cannot help but notice that the winner of this particular contest bears a striking resemblance to an undercooked, lumpy sausage, with his fleshy moobs squashed into a gown.

In a world where online pornography is a click away and women in Iran are being killed for removing their headscarves, I struggle to muster too much fury about the kitsch sexism of beauty pageants. The idea of women and girls parading around while sweaty-palmed judges score them is certainly creepy and anachronistic. Nonetheless, the women entered the Miss Greater Derry pageant in good faith and deserved a fair chance. They were denied a prize that rightfully belonged to one of them. Brían sashayed off not only with the tiara, but also with a university scholarship and sponsorship opportunities. The other contestants had no choice but to clap along at the mockery made of their efforts. The spectacle served as a powerful reminder that, in today’s America, failing to show due deference to the trans overlords (or trans overladies?) is potentially career-ending.

This pattern is being replicated across public life. From sports to politics to science, wherever schemes are established to increase female participation, entitled men in stilettos are marching in to mark them as their territory. And if proof were ever needed that transwomen are men, it can be witnessed in the fawning, gushing behaviour of the wider world towards them. Overweight women are not entered into beauty pageants at all, let alone crowned.

Of course, some men have long been fascinated by the spectacle of beautiful women competing with one another. Before becoming president of the United States, Donald Trump co-owned the Miss Universe franchise. Earlier this month, Thailand’s first billionaire – a transgender media mogul called Jakkaphong ‘Anne’ Jakrajutatip – bought the company for $20million. The 43-year-old has already scooped up prizes and accolades meant for successful women, and has been widely celebrated as the competition’s first ‘female’ owner.

In the US, an unlikely alliance is leading the fightback against this trans takeover of beauty pageants. In a comic twist, the American feminist organisation Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) has been at the forefront of protecting the rights of females to become beauty queens. Last month, the radical women’s group won a legal battle alongside Miss America USA (MUSA). A would-be contestant – a male who identified as trans – brought legal action against MUSA, after his application was rejected on the grounds that he is not a ‘natural-born female’.

As WoLF’s chair, Lierre Keith, tells me: ‘You can roll your eyes about it being a beauty pageant, but the principle is the same whether it’s a pageant, a homeless shelter, a hospital ward or a prison. Women are saying no to men, as we have a right to.’ This is about ‘men claiming to be women and claiming a right to our spaces’, she says. The idea that womanhood is a costume that can be stepped into by men is the very essence of dick-swinging entitlement.

Much to the chagrin of proudly hairy-legged feminists like me, there are probably more Miss America fans and aspiring contestants than there are critics raging at the patriarchal beauty standards such contests promote. Given this, the plus side of plus-size men like Brían waltzing in and sweeping up women’s prizes is that more women will be forced to put political differences aside and recognise what unites us. The threat trans ideology poses to women’s spaces and opportunities could hardly be any clearer. So, I would like to say a sincere ‘well done’ to Miss Greater Derry – he might just end up inspiring women everywhere. Just not in the way he imagined.

Jo Bartosch is a journalist campaigning for the rights of women and girls.

Picture by: Instagram / missgreaterderrynh.

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Topics Feminism Identity Politics USA

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