What better way for a man like Donald Trump to show his devotion to women than by purchasing a beauty pageant. He now produces three of the world’s best-known pageants, Miss Teen USA, Miss USA, and Miss Universe—which comprise the Miss Universe Organization. As a sign of the times, the organization has rechristened its Miss Universe contestants “delegates” and promotes its new image as a “year-round, international company that advances . . . today’s women.” Today’s “delegates” must be between the ages of 18 and 26, single, and willing to parade in a swimsuit. They can’t be engaged, previously married, or have children. Each must cover her own expenses (sponsorships defray some costs). The winner receives a trophy, cash prizes and sponsorships totaling about $200,000, luxury digs in New York City for a year, and she must represent the organization during her “reign.” The other 78 contestants get to pay for their plane tickets home.
The real winners are, of course, Donald Trump and CBS. After tallying the more than $10 million extracted from the host country, the seven-figure exclusivity deals given to pageant sponsors, and the sale of broadcast rights to roughly 110 countries, the final score is at least $100 million for Trump and CBS, and zilch for 78 of “today’s women.”