beauty queen resigns over topless photos
24-year-old Rebekah Revels, who until recently held the title Miss North Carolina, recently resigned her title after an ex-boyfriend told officials about topless pictures of her. Revels claimed she would be barred from participating in the Miss America pageant under a clause forbidding "engaging in any activity that could reasonably be characterized as dishonest, immoral or indecent and from conducting themselves in any manner that is inconsistent with the standards and dignity of the Miss America Program."
Unlike the 1984 incident in which pageant winner Vanessa Williams resigned after nude photos she'd posed for surfaced, the topless photos of Revels were apparently taken by surprise when she was changing and by a boyfriend she accuses of abusing her. It's always struck me as hypocritical that a beauty pageant--which, no matter how you dress it up with talent competitions, is all about appearance--would penalize young women for being photographed nude. And where is the line drawn? You only have to look at a newsstand to see magazine ads where the model is obviously nude, even if her body is artfully obscured.
But even if contest officials want to ban women who have ever agreed to model in the altogether, I think it sends another message entirely to cast aspersions on such pictures taken in private. I know the advent of personal video recorders and digital cameras--and even the Polaroid, in its day--have led a lot of people to experiment with capturing the image of their significant other in various ways. Apparently, according to the Miss America pageant, doing so is immoral or indecent or both.
Beyond that, it's utterly unfathomable to me how pictures taken without consent could be "characterized as dishonest, immoral or indecent" except on the part of the creep who took them. The Miss America pageant thing doesn't often appear on my radar screen at all, but incidents like this just reinforce my tendency to dismiss the whole beauty pageant phenomenon as irrelevant.