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John Oliver Stages Beauty Pageant to Show Why It's Troubling That Miss America Is a Scholarship

The “Last Week Tonight” team does some investigative reporting about Miss America’s alleged annual $45 million in scholarships for women and, with the help of comedian Kathy Griffin, highlights why beauty pageants are “horrible” and should cease to exist immediately.

And of course, being that it is John Oliver’s show and the comedian is prone to inspiring bouts of online activism, Oliver provided his viewers with several websites where audience members could donate to more deserving women’s scholarships, such as the Society of Women Engineers, the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation and the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund.

—Posted by Natasha Hakimi ZapataUpdate:

The Miss America Organization reached out to us for comment. Here’s what a spokesperson had to say:

John Oliver reaffirmed that the Miss America Organization (MAO) is the largest scholarship organization for women when he stated the number of scholarship dollars claimed ‘…is more than any other women-only scholarship we could find.’

We highlight the impressive, generous $45 million in scholarships made available in an effort to honor every one of our academic partners nationwide who make available cash and in-kind financial opportunities to the MAO and young women who participate in the program. Each year, more than 8,000 young women compete for scholarships through the volunteer, grassroots-driven Miss America pageant system in more than 950 local, state, and national competitions. These scholarships are awarded not just to winners of each pageant but to runners-up and participants.

As with any scholarship, the full amount awarded may not always be used as recipients’ plans change or evolve. The Miss America Organization works every day to administer these scholarships to young women across the country and encourages our participants to utilize these scholarships provided by colleges and universities nationally who partner to fund education.

The Miss America Organization is dedicated to improving the opportunities available to our program participants and remaining at the forefront of providing opportunities to women.

Natasha Hakimi Zapata
Assistant Editor / Poetry Editor
Natasha Hakimi Zapata holds a Creative Writing M.F.A. from Boston University and both a B.A. in Spanish and a B.A. in English with a creative writing concentration from the University of California, Los…
Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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