Watch: “Never Too Old for a Tiara”

“I’m 91 years old. I’m supposed to sit home? No! I’m gonna flirt with the guys.”

Maybe you’ve never heard of Miss Senior America. After all, not a whole lot of people are interested in the idea of coiffed and sequined women in their 70s, 80s and 90s parading across a stage in the hope of being named the most beautiful old lady in the country.

Besides, aren’t there more important things…?

Watch the video, a New York Times report on the pageant that takes place each fall in Atlantic City. Are the contestants — a retired businesswoman, the first woman to drive a forklift at Kennedy airport back in the day, a former member of the Polish army in exile, a retired medical technician, and others — helping to redefine aging by saying “why not” to a pageant at their age? Do the self-confidence and sense of adventure they exude help us to rethink what “beauty” means? Does this contest help women “age with attitude”? And does it perpetuate a long-outdated concept of what success means for a woman (we’re not aware of any beauty pageants for senior men — just power-lifting contests). Or is the opposite true? “We were the women behind the men,” last year’s winner, Dr. Barbara B. Mauldin, says. “For many candidates, this is a real step out of their comfort zones.”

Share your thoughts in the comments below. Let’s get a conversation going!

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