Miranda Kerr visits "Fox & Friends" at FOX Studios on June 4, 2013 in New York City. Photo: Brad Barket
Last week in the Q&A section of the Miss USA pageant a nervous Miss Utah mutilated a question on the gender wage gap in a manner that made her a world wide news story. As she fumbled over a topic she didn't know a lot about she came up with the self-fulfilling prophecy, "we should create education better."
Everyone with a mouse and a Facebook profile shared the exchange but out of the viral ridicule also came an amount of sympathy and support for a very young, nervous woman who was now being mercilessly lampooned by the entire internet.
While we will continue to be fascinated by whatever beautiful people have to say we probably need to stop being so terribly surprised when they aren't articulate or appropriate.
Miranda Kerr is another beauty queen that went out on a limb last week. She weighed in on the Alpha Female phenomenon that's been widely discussed since the publication of The XX Factor: How Working Women Are Creating a New Society, by economist Alison Wolf. At least I think that's what she was talking about when she told Net-a-Porter magazine The Edit,
"If you’re really an alpha female, you don’t allow [your partner] to have the space to feel like the man in the relationship. Maybe I am too traditional, but men feel important when you ask for their help, instead of thinking you can do it all on your own."
Oh no. It’s inappropriate, it’s regressive, it uses more than one tense. While in some cases, like Miss Utah last week, it feels productive to look the other way, this is a car crash that bears witnessing.
Seeing a powerful woman telling impressionable readers that it’s not a good idea to be an alpha in any part of their lives is about as frustrating as sitting in a parked car for a week listening to Taylor Swift. It’s one of those comments that could do with something between gentle mocking and complete condemnation because it’s infinitely more regrettable than what Miss Utah stuttered.
Kerr isn’t a first-time-pageant-princess. She’s a woman with significant influence and profile. While I’m not expecting robust feminist commentary it’s a shame she can’t do a little better than suggesting women diminish their power.
Kerr has previously said, “A rose can never be a sunflower, and a sunflower can never be a rose. All flowers are beautiful in their own way, and that’s like women too. I want to encourage women to embrace their own uniqueness.”
So look, I won’t hold my breath that change is on the horizon but some gaffes are probably more worthy of acknowledgement than others.