- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2004

Oppressive beauty

“Rage against beauty contests lies at the very roots of PC feminism. …

“Indeed, a high-profile protest at the 1968 Miss America beauty contest is often credited with bringing the feminist movement into public awareness. …

“Being judged on the basis of your beauty is no more ‘objectification’ than taking a college exam and being judged on your intellect; yet, as far as I know, every student will take exams. …

“Feminist Jo Freeman writes of the 1968 protest, ‘All women were made to believe they were inferior because they couldn’t measure up to Miss America beauty standards.’

“By this analysis, beauty contestants become symbols and tools of oppression.

“The analysis is deeply flawed. For one thing, society has no one standard of beauty. …

“Moreover, the beauty of one woman doesn’t force another to conform. …

“Yet the argument that beauty contests are unfair to the average woman is common.”

Wendy McElroy, writing on “In Defense of Beauty Pageants,” Wednesday at www.ifeminists.net

More absorbent

“Many of us parents suffer through a lot of insipid kid shows for the sake of keeping our young’uns company — partly to monitor what they watch, partly in the hope that an occasional interjection … will break the hypnotic-trance state before they become entirely passive, zombielike receptacles. We’ve come to look on Stephen Hillenburg’s ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ as a gift — a joyful spasm of whacked-out surrealism featuring one of the sweetest characters in cartoondom.

“This kitchen-sponge-shaped sea sponge … is television’s most happy-go-lucky optimist, a child-man who takes joy in even a minimum-wage dead-end fast-food job — at the bottom of the ocean, no less. … At 11 short minutes, the length of a ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ cartoon, it’s just about perfection.

“‘The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie’ … is considerably longer than 11 minutes, and it’s not just an elasticized, padded-up short. …

“I kept waiting for the story to zigzag and go hurtling off into the furthest reaches of absurdity. …

“I like my SpongeBob a little less lumbering, a little more free-associational, without that big, heavy anchor of a story structure to weigh him down.

David Edelstein, writing on “‘SpongeBob’ Squared,” Thursday in Slate at www.slate.com

Morally correct’

“Imagine opening the paper … and reading an article about Christianity in America, and the ‘expert’ the reporter quoted was from a group called ‘Christian Atheists.’ … This is the scenario … when the media interviews Frances Kissling, president of the so-called ‘Catholics for a Free Choice” (CFFC). …

“Unlike some of her pro-abortion contemporaries who bemoan the ‘unfortunate necessity’ of abortion, Kissling calls it a good thing. In 1996, she told a gathering of the National Abortion Federation that the decision to have an abortion ‘is not only a moral decision, but is a morally correct decision that women make at various times in their lives.’ …

“These pearls of wisdom come from a woman who once admitted, ‘I spent 20 years looking for a government I could overthrow without being thrown in jail. I finally found one in the Catholic Church.’”

Joe Starrs, writing on “Frances Kissling, enemy of life,” in the November-December issue of Celebrate Life

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