Why you should care about Miss America 2014

Sean Kennedy
Sean Kennedy

I thought it was a joke at first.

After all, most of the Internet is dominated by misinformation and poppycock, but I still had to wonder. Were people really up in arms over the identity of this year’s Miss America? It couldn’t be that big a deal, could it? I decided to do some research, and the results were eye-opening. This is indeed a huge deal. The Miss America competition has become a travesty that needs to be dealt with.


First of all, the title of Miss America is a weighty position that holds a lot of power and serious consideration should be taken when passing the crown to a young lady. We can’t have people handing out this title willy-nilly to whoever they feel like; the quality and patriotism of these candidates need to be taken into account.

Would you believe that Miss America 2014 is from Syracuse? That’s practically Canada. The idea that a Canadian can represent our country is simply ludicrous. When crowned Miss America, ladies gain many exclusive privileges and powers, including speaking to people around the country and crowning the next Miss America a year later.

Are we just going to hand over this kind of a power to a Canadian? She’ll probably use her speaking tour to promote universal healthcare, or campaign to make hockey our national sport. Do you want to let her run wild with that kind of power, while simultaneously running the respectability of the competition into the ground?

The sanctity of the Miss America competition needs to be protected. These women are role models for the young girls of our country, and represent the strength and vitality of our country. They symbolize all the best American traits, like passion, perseverance and being pretty.

It is certainly not the “sexist dinosaur of all contests” that some people so erroneously claim it to be. Therefore, it should be of paramount importance that the judges be prudent when picking a winner of the competition. When dealing with a position of such magnitude and influence, you can’t have that role filled by someone with any weaknesses. Even putting her questionable citizenship aside, Miss America 2014 was a candidate with several flaws that never should have advanced so far in the competition.

For example, did you know that the name of Miss America 2014 is Nina Davuluri? There are way too many syllables in that name for people to be able to remember it, let alone pronounce it. How do they expect to market a name like that? They won’t be able to garner any recognition in the general public. They might even have to shorten her billing for her speaking tour to “Nina D.” so people don’t take one look at her full name, have their brains hurt and go home. Certainly the runner-up, Crystal Lee of California, would have been a far more suitable choice in this respect.

Now there has been some backlash against the Miss America competition for their selection of Ms. Davuluri, but none of it has been for the right reasons. There has been a sizable outcry on Twitter and other social media sites over the issue, but many people are missing the point on why Ms. Davuluri shouldn’t have been selected. Myriad people are upset because they believe she is Muslim, and have labeled her as “Arab” or “terrorist”. Where are these people getting their information?

While I certainly agree that Miss America should always be American, it should be noted again that Ms. Davuluri is Canadian, not Arabic. Indeed, she is of Indian descent, and her parents hailed from a region thousands of miles from the Middle East. If we hope to achieve any sort of constructive change with our criticism, we need to get our sources straight. Additionally, I don’t believe her religion should be a factor in anyone’s argument. America was founded on the idea of religious freedom, and representing a minority faith is one of the few laudable traits of Nina Davuluri. However, again, it should be noted that she was raised in a Hindu family and has no known ties to Islam.

Getting key points about Miss America 2014 like these wrong is not going to help us prevent foreigners from continuing to represent us and will only undermine our credibility. We have to stick to the facts if we want to save this competition. Who knows? Otherwise, all we can expect is more Canadians.

Sean Kennedy is a freshman with no declared major who occasionally engages in massive amounts of sarcasm. Feedback and comments can be sent to letters@collegian.com or @seanskenn on Twitter.