As a card-carrying member of The Press, it is my responsibility to keep abreast of current events. When I am not busy writing hard-hitting commentaries or asking the Tough Questions, I am dutifully immersed in prestigious news publications, trying to absorb the Facts through osmosis. Every once in a while, my quest for knowledge leads me to a story so compelling that I can”t help but write a column about it. Late last week, I was graced with such an opportunity.

Paul Wong
Aubrey Henretty: Neurotica

I am referring, of course, to the torrent of rumors alleging that Miss Universe contestant Elodie Gossuin (a.k.a. Miss France) was actually a man.

Now, I know what you”re thinking. You”re thinking: “Beauty pageants? But Aubrey, aren”t there more pressing global issues such as mad cow disease that are more deserving of your attention?” Ordinarily, I would agree with you. Few things are less deserving of my 3,500 characters than a bunch of heavily primped, glittery beauty queens with visible abdominal muscles parading around for the enjoyment of adolescent males and of the perverts who took video cameras to the Naked Mile, but this story was just too good to pass up.

The rumor mill supposedly started spinning on the Internet when a French website claimed that Gossuin was born a biological male. At this point, tabloid writers all over the world began wetting themselves with excitement and desperately searching for confirmation. And when I say desperately, I mean that a tabloid paper in Puerto Rico (where the Miss Universe pageant will take place next month) was quoted as saying that Gossuin had “large hands and a scar on her forehead.”

Despite these damning physical features, Gossuin was exonerated by the ladies that fitted her for her bathing suit. Personally, I wish she had turned out to be a man. It wouldn”t be the first time a non-female was put up on a pedestal and touted as a beacon of female beauty. Several years ago, a transsexual won such a contest in Asia, prompting the paranoid Miss Universe folks to require that their contestants be “female citizens” of their respective countries. The Gossuin scare has resulted in even more specific terminology: “natural born women.”

But not just any woman can be a Naturally Beautiful woman, but there are steps she can take to improve her mediocre appearance. The idea is, she needs to get rid of as much of her body as possible. One way to do this is to give up food altogether, ridding herself of unsightly flesh. Also, the body hair has to go. It is not uncommon for women to pay someone to yank out all of their eyebrow hairs and then draw them back in with a little tiny pencils.

Can somebody please explain to me why this is considered attractive? THEY”RE EYEBROWS! Honestly, if you”re seriously considering eyebrow reduction procedures, you”ve gone too far. What”s next? If something isn”t done, in a few years it will be standard procedure for contestants to rip off every one of their fingernails before competing. Can somebody please pass the pliers?

The Miss Universe people (not to mention pageant owners everywhere) should be grateful that ANYONE is willing to make him or herself look like a “beauty queen.” They can”t afford to picky about trivial things like biological sex, especially now that we have professional women”s sports, Old Navy and king size Snickers bars.

If Gossuin doesn”t get the crown, she shouldn”t worry too much about the future there”s always room for a large pair of hands in the WNBA.

Aubrey Henretty”s column runs every other Monday. She can be reached via e-mail at ahenrett@mich.edu.

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