I dreamt that I and a bunch of other guys were standing on the stage of some dark, empty theater with the bright stage lights on us. We couldn't see anything beyond the stage due to the bright lights, but there were women out there and they seemed to be picking teams, almost. You know, when you'd play games at recess and two people were picked as captains and they'd take turns picking people to be on their team? It was something like that - the first person called was generally viewed as the preferred person to have on your team. Anyway, although we couldn't see them, we could hear the voices of a few women out in the first few rows of the stage. We were instructed to drop trou, and we were "picked" based solely on our penises. I remember that somewhere between 50% and 75% of the guys were picked before I was. That in itself wasn't a huge blow to me in the dream although I do remember feeling humiliated. What I do remember thinking, and very strongly, was that this sort of competition was completely unfair to every single guy on that stage. For everyone who wasn't picked first, we had to assume that there was something wrong with the way our penis looked. Didn't matter how nice my penis was, how beautiful it was on its own merits; apparently compared to one or some of the others, it just wasn't good enough. I remember thinking that there was nothing wrong with my penis, that it is beautiful and while it's not the biggest of the bunch, it does its jobs rather well, and I'm proud of it. I remember thinking that this competition was trying to get me to feel exactly the opposite, and trying to get me (and everyone else involved) to base my entire self-worth on the size or appearance of my penis, which makes no sense at all. (Maybe the next thing that would have happened was that I would be bombarded with advertisements for products designed to make my penis (and therefore myself) more desirable...)
That's really all there was to the dream. I have no idea what we were being "picked" for; it doesn't matter. I've never heard of that sort of competition, so while it probably exists, it's not mainstream. But I don't think I have to connect the dots for you from what happened in my dream to beauty pageants, Miss USA type contests, and other bullsh*t like that. I mean, I'd been aware before of the screwed up nature of this sort of thing, but to have a dream where I was actually subjected to those kinds of feelings (and you know how in dreams you truly feel your feelings) helped to enhance my understanding of this. Furthermore, if we ignore the biggest problem here (the fact that these sorts of competitions exist at all) there is a huge secondary problem: Why is it that these sorts of competitions exist for women but not for men? Why should women be objectified and judged on their appearances, not who they are, but men don't have to conform to the same sorts of standards? I'm not advocating a Mister USA contest - I'm illuminating the sexism being practiced here. There should not be both competitions - there should be neither.
If you are like I used to be and you think this sort of thing isn't a problem, that society isn't putting unfair expectations on women about the way they look, you're wrong and you ought to consider educating yourself about it. The book I linked to above, The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, looks like a good place to start (thanks Tandra!). I haven't read it yet, but Amazon has the first ten or so pages available online, and I pretty much devoured them this morning. I'll be buying that book soon, and I agree with Tandra that everyone ought to read it.