The Miss USA pageant as Public Address and the Miss California 2009 controversy

video of Miss California’s answer to the question about same-sex marriage

video of judge Perez Hilton’s response of the David Letterman show

When asked whether all states should legalize same-sex marriage,  Miss California answered that “in my country and in my family, I believe a marriage should be between a man and a woman.” Although she declared “its great that Americans are able to choose” and “no offense to anybody one out there” there was a ton of controversy surrounding her answer. During his post-pageant interview of David Letterman, Judge Perez Hilton asserted that “Miss USa should be all-inclusive” while Miss California Carrie Prejan’s answer was”divisive and alienating.” He asserted that the question was addressed to a potential Miss USA and the current Miss California and not to Carrie Prejan as an individual and stated, “I do expect Miss USA to be politically correct.” Miss USA is a public figure in American society. Because she wears the name of the country in her title she is meant to be a representative. Thus, it is not wise for her make claims that are alienating. Although each woman is entitled to her opinion as an individual, if she wishes to be Miss USA she must take into account what her title stands for. I agree with Hilton and think that Miss California’s answer was not a successful as public address. Hilton emphasized that it is not her opinion that is the problem but that it wasn’t the right answer for the context. If Miss California wished for her public address to result in being awarded the crown of Miss America she should have considered her audience and the occasion more.

Caroline Spence


2 comments so far

  1. cjryan9 on

    I think the most effective tool of rhetoric is telling the truth and being genuine. Obviously Miss America should be politically correct over anything, however same-sex marriage is a topic that is surrounded by many different opinions. One doesn’t necessarily have to be homophobic to be opposed to same sex marriage. I think that she was in a tough position, she had to either express what she believed, or lie and be politically correct. Obviously her answer was controversial, however I have to respect her honesty in not just saying what people wanted to hear. I think the most effective forms of public address are when people are honest and straight forward, and for better or worse, one needs to stick to what they believe.

  2. cjryan9 on


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: