Donald Trump has caught entertainment headlines today by claiming that George Clooney is “short” and Angelina Jolie is “no great beauty.” Although I’m sure there are those out there willing to disagree (especially Brad Pitt) this statement was not what caught my feminist eye. What took me aback was not the assertions he made, but the rationale he uses to justify them. Rather than rely on the explanation of subjective opinion (which 99.9% of the population uses) he states the following:

“I do own Miss Universe. I do own Miss USA. I mean I own a lot of different things. I do understand beauty, and she’s [Angelina Jolie’s] not.”

Thanks for explaining that, Mr. Trump. I may have confused ‘understanding’ with previous knowledge, intelligence or careful thought. However, Mr. Trump is quite explicit in equating understanding with ownership. And ownership of one of the most derogatory programs on TV today. Mr. Trump himself is not present at these pageants, he does not judge the ‘beauties’ and he does not set the criteria for qualification into the pageant in the first place. But he (or at least his giant corporation) owns the pageant, and therefore that makes him an expert on beauty.

I understand that this is most likely a drumming of a publicity for the flailing Miss. America and Miss. USA ‘scholarship competitions’. However, at the end of the day, a man like Mr. Trump can stand up and declare beauty to be his realm (and a narrow, white, tall realm it is) due to the money he possesses; the money that entitles him the ‘ownership’ to these women’s bodies and beauty.