Dumbest Question In The Universe - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Dumbest Question In The Universe

(CNN) -- First things first: I didn't watch Monday night's Miss Universe Pageant. I did not even know it was on.

The last time I might have tuned into such a program was in middle school, the height of insecurity. I was short, scrawny and getting used to my first pair of oversized glasses. My thick dark hair wouldn't lay flat like the blondes with their perfect wispy bangs. Not yet "developed" like many of my peers, I'm sure watching glamorous half-naked models parade around on stage was just what my young psyche needed.

When I came into work Tuesday morning, I was greeted with an e-mail that made me think about the pageant for the first time in decades. It contained the final question posed to finalist Leila Lopes of Angola, now our universe's newly crowned Miss Universe.

"If you could change one of your physical characteristics," the designated judge asked her, "which one would it be and why?"

Are you (insert profanity) kidding me?

After standing under the magnifying glass of millions, this 25-year-old, 5-foot-10 ½-inch knockout had to publicly contemplate if she was physically good enough.

Her response was quick: "Thank God I am very-well satisfied with the way God created me, and I wouldn't change a thing. I consider myself a woman endowed with inner beauty. ... I have acquired many wonderful principles from my family, and I plan to follow these through the rest of my life. And now I would like to give all of you a piece of advice: Respect one another."

Her answer was applauded. Lopes' win, the first for Angola, was announced soon after.

Maybe it's absurd to be dismayed that a question like this would be posed at a beauty pageant. In my worldview, the mere fact that pageants exist is absurd. And I'm not alone.

"It fits into the narrative du jour for women -- my body is infinitely malleable," said Courtney Martin, editor of Feministing.com and author of titles including "Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection Is Harming Young Women."

"If I have enough willpower and money, I can look like anyone," she said. "This invisibilizes physiology and metabolism and leads women to internalize shame when so much is simply not in their control."

We live in a world where in the United States alone $10.1 billion was spent on cosmetic procedures in 2010, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. And Miss Universe has got to be the apex of all pageants -- the ultimate aspiration for all those fake-tanned toddlers running around in tiaras, between tantrums, on reality-TV.

But, seriously, who came up with this question? CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

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