“You can accomplish anything you want with hard work.”
You dare not criticize it. You dare not suggest that light skin color may convey an advantage, that already having resources or growing up in a home where the parents are educated and speak proper English may help. You will be whomped squarely with an anecdote that breaks that rule, you Negative Nelly, you! People pull themselves up by the bootstraps every day, and if you temper your celebration of their achievement – by citing statistics or expressing compassion for the people who don’t succeed despite trying – then you will be put in your place. It’s downright unpatriotic to suggest that the playing field isn’t even. That’s just an excuse for laziness.
Well, the American Dream will be the platform of Miss South Carolina in this year’s Miss America pageant. (Be sure to click through to the video.) Technically, Bree Boyce’s platform is “Eating healthy and fighting obesity,” but the subtext is the American Dream. Bree weighed 234 pounds when she was 17. Now, at 22, she weighs 122. She uses her life story as the example of the obesity-curing benefits of hard work and rugged individualism.
“I did it all on my own. I did it for myself.” She tells the Today Show’s Ann Curry.
She conflates being fat with being unhealthy and she conflates “it” (weight loss) with the American Dream:
“I had so many dreams and aspirations for myself. And I knew that being so unhealthy I wouldn’t be able to accomplish any of those dreams. So by changing my lifestyle completely, I did a 180, and it’s been completely amazing, and I’m just so excited.”
From what I can tell, however, her dreams and aspirations have been to get thin and win beauty pageants, like her older sister Tiffany. In a family that supports those aspirations. And she has done it.
She works out two to three hours a day when preparing for contests and she “maintains” her “lifestyle” with half- to one-hour of daily exercise. But she hasn’t spent much time in “lifestyle” mode, methinks. She’s been working hard. She loves looking at her swim suit competition pictures, and, indeed, there’s no denying that she is ripped. She tells Ann that when she did her swim suit promenade, to keep the butterflies in her stomach at bay, she was just thinking about herself, her hard work and all the people she could inspire. She kept herself focused on how she is “a confident and successful woman. And to strut my stuff on that stage was the proudest moment of my life.”
In the end, it’s all the American Dream. She sums it up:
“Whatever it is in life that you want to do, it takes hard work. There’s no secret. It’s hard work, and determination and perseverance. All those things.” Read the rest of this entry »