Beauty queen does pole dance - not news. Daily Mail is prejudiced - also not news

According to the Daily Mail, the newly-crowned Miss USA Rima Fakih - a Muslim, which is apparently worthy of much discussion in the US of A - took part in a strip show back in 2007, albeit a strip show in which she seems not to have stripped. Just so readers can get really shocked, they have photos of Miss Fakih, now aged 24, dressed in a white vest and very short shorts as she dances next to a pole.

The admittedly-very-pleasing-on-the-eyes Rima Fakih

Miss Fakih won the Miss USA pageant, which still attracts a surprising amount of attention despite more than 40 years of feminism, on Sunday night at some hellish facility known as the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino which is co-owned by Donald Trump. And...er...well, that's it, really. Young woman does a very mildly naughty pole dance. Not much excitement in the news this fine morning, but this one's boring even by Daily Mail standards - surely they could have done better?

However, one small section of the story deserves further attention - this being the almost throwaway snippet that when asked whether she thought birth control should be paid for by medical insurance, Miss Fakih replied, "I believe that birth control is just like every other medication even though it's a controlled substance" and that it should be covered as it's expensive. Not quite sure what they're trying to suggest there, but it sounds rather as though they're trying to tell us that since Miss Fakih seems to have some knowledge of birth control, she must have used it - which means, horror of horrors, she has had sex and therefore is of questionable virtue in the morally-superior eyes of the Mail. The story goes on to tell us that the pageant has been mired in controversy in recent years, including last year when winner Carrie Prejean, was stripped of her title after she was found to have made a sex tape.

No mention of the controversy over beauty pageants upholding the sexist concept of a woman's worth being equal only to her aesthetic qualities, though. If we assume that the Daily Mail's omission of this demonstrates it has no ethical argument against such events (which is also suggested when it ensures it makes note of the supposedly high standards of the pageant by emphasising Ms. Prejean's expulsion), while it finds the idea of a young woman having sex and taking control of her own body shocking, the story can be viewed as much more than mere space-filler on a slow news day - it shows just how backward, sexist and ultimately horrible a "newspaper" it really is.

Pity Rima wasn't dancing next to a Pole - the Mail could have aired their anti-immigrant prejudices then as well.

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