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baltimoresun.com

Miss America pageant sends the wrong message

7:30 AM EST, January 16, 2013

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One element of the Miss America Pageant went horribly wrong Sunday evening. Miss America is supposed to be a beautiful, hardworking woman who serves as a role model for others. Yet Gretchen Carlson, Fox News personality and a former Miss America herself in 1989, announced that the contestants were so used to depriving themselves that they likely had not consumed a single carbohydrate in six years.

After Ms. Carlson made the comment, trays of doughnuts were brought out for the women who had been eliminated in the contest. Not only did this send a message of disordered eating habits, skewed self-concept and misaligned body image for impressionable teens, it also signaled that it's OK to feed failure with unhealthy desserts.

Vulnerable young girls and teens watching the pageant now may believe that in order to be a beautiful and worthy American woman they mustn't eat carbs and should deprive themselves nutritionally.

But Miss America should be known for eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly. She should not be famous as a woman who deprives herself.

A new and different message needs to be sent to American youngsters if we are to stop a growing trend toward disordered eating habits and an attitude of personal hatred toward ones own body.

Melanie Francer, College Park

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