Bully for Beauty: In the Press

This past week I was thrilled to appear on NECN's Morning Show to talk about issues in the lives of today's high schoolers (from the celebratory to the traumatic)-- and what parents and educators can do to help. Bullying is a major issue for kids today, and the new documentary Bully was the impetus for the below conversation (I personally find it interesting, horrifying, and heartening that the filmmakers intervened when the bullying of one boy became too dangerous [imagine how bad it must have been when cameras weren't present...]).


Prom is supposed to be a fun occasion, but it can also be problematic thanks to bullying and conflict with adults over proper attire. Some schools have started to clearly spell out rules on proper attire for males and females. In the below segment I talk about some of the sources of "sexy" dress trends for girls, and what parents can do.

And, just so you know I wasn't exaggerating about kicking off my high heels to dance and have fun, here's proof. I actually encouraged guests to do the same! You see, I try to be a fun academic and not a fuddy-duddy complaining about "cut-outs" in dresses. I really do like sequins just as much as the next girl...


Another girl who likes sequins? Jenna Talackova. Talackova, a 23-year-old beauty pageant contestant, made international headlines recently when she was denied a spot in the upcoming Miss Canada Universe pageant. Why? Talackova was born a boy and pageant organizers intimated she lied about this-- though she is a female on all official legal documents and she has undergo sexual reassignment surgery. When I spoke with French-Canadian reporter Catherine Lalonde last week for her story (for a rough English translation from the French, click here), I predicted that Trump would ultimately allow Talackova to compete because he loves publicity (as does Gloria Allred, of course, who is now involved).

I was right. Trump announced this week that Jenna was welcome to compete. I'm now predicting the biggest ratings for Miss Canada Universe. Ever.

This would never happen if Talackova was trying to compete in the Miss America Pageant. As I explain in the article, Miss Universe/USA split from Miss America when Miss America refused to be crowned in a bathing suit. Ever since then Miss Universe has had a sexier image. Miss America has tried to project a "girl-next-door" image that is reinforced by its famous morality clause, started by pageant legend Lenora Slaughter. This morality clause got a work-out, and an expansion, after Vanessa Williams was famously dethroned for posing in pictures with another woman in sexual positions. So, yeah, I don't think Miss America will *ever* have a transgender contestant. They have had contestants who were openly gay, but never any major state winners (that is not to say there haven't potentially been lesbian title holders, just that they were/are not open about their sexuality).

I hope Jenna Talackova wasn't too bullied when she was growing up-- and I bet she wore a pretty amazing dress to her prom. I just hope it passed muster with her school's dress code!