Heather Dowling
August 02, 2013 2:00 pm

You may have heard that Major League Baseball is facing upheaval once again. One of the game’s biggest stars, Alex Rodriguez, faces the possibility of being banned from the sport for life for his alleged use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).

As I write this, the MLB is looking at suspending 8 other players for 50 games for suspected use of PEDs, which could completely change the post-season picture for the 2013 season as stars are “benched”.

This new wave of controversy is leaving fans somewhere between annoyed by the interruption of America’s favorite past-time, and resigned about cheering for the boys of summer. When you think about it, the dust has barely settled on the Lance Armstrong confession of using PEDs throughout his cycling career. And, take a look at the NFL. It depends on which reports you choose to believe to determine whether or not pro-football is getting this problem handled.

As it always does when I look at the male dominated world of professional sports, this got me thinking about the female equivalent: Botox, nose jobs and fake boobs. Stick with me here. The rules say it’s “cheating” for an athlete to artificially enhance his (or her) body with chemicals to compete in sports, but it’s not cheating if you undergo serious surgery, and chemical injections to win a beauty pageant.

When athletes are accused of using PEDs, fans and the media vilify them, they are heavily fined, suspended from competing in the games they dominate and often stripped of their awards and accolades. All of this because the PEDs could have, might have, changed the result of a game played to entertain us.

On the other hand, the women who compete in beauty pageants are allowed – and in some cases, encouraged – to pursue plastic surgery and other extreme beauty treatments to “beat” the competition they face.

Isabel Teotonio, of TheStar.com reports, “Miss USA 1995 Shanna Moakler, who now runs the Miss Nevada USA competition, has encouraged past titleholders to get breast implants, nose jobs and fix their teeth to improve their odds. But ultimately it’s a personal decision and ‘There’s no pressure’, she says, likening cosmetic surgery to using makeup.”

A woman who wins the title “Miss Universe” is awarded a crown adorned with 500 diamonds, weighing in at 30 carats, valued at $250,000. Then, she is paid a monthly salary of $1,500 for a yearlong speaking tour to take a stand for her cause – child abuse, homelessness, cancer research. By the way, all of her living and traveling tour expenses are paid and arranged by the pageant organizers.

Does anyone else see the hypocrisy and absurdity of this? Why is there outrage for one “cheat” and reward for the other?

I assert that it’s because even now, in 2013, the way a woman looks still speaks louder – and gets more airtime – than her words.  Even the “prize” for Miss Universe implies that this woman’s beauty is what will get her chosen cause the attention it deserves. It seems to me that the $250,000 spent on the tiara might have made a bigger difference at a soup kitchen.

“You’ve come a long way, Baby…” Maybe. But, ladies, we still have a long way to go.

Images courtesy of Isaac Brekken/AP & Comcast Sportsnet

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