There was a story on page 9 of the [Feb. 2] Catholic Spirit about the new (Catholic) Miss America. Let me remind the readers that this involved wearing a bathing suit in front of ogling judges in a minimum of three public pageants (city/state/country).
The Miss America article is followed almost immediately with a prominent quote from the human trafficking story: “A culture that broadly promotes the commodification and objectification of persons . . . perpetuates a demand for sexual slavery.”
Commodification’s root word, commodity, is defined as “convenience, advantage, something useful or valuable, an economic good, an article of commerce.” Nowhere does it imply personhood.
Objectification more obviously illustrates exactly what pageants do: turn women into objects, things.
We, as a society, continue to value and reward beauty with money (scholarships, titles, opportunity, etc.), but it is impossible to do that in this context without objectifying women, embracing an outdated, sexist custom.
I would bet those guilty of trafficking get a big kick out of those pageants. Can we blame them? Not really. Not without blaming ourselves.
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