“Unfortunately, I know we’ve been the target of gossip because of this,” Tammy Wothe tells Detroit Lakes Online. “Our goal is much bigger than all that.”
The three are using the pageants to try to get people to stop using the word “retarded.“
“You use the crown as your microphone to speak on something that’s really close to your heart,” Maggie said.
Her sister has Down Syndrome. She takes her crown, and titles, and sashes, to any business and school that will give her the opportunity to speak.
She will sometimes bring a banner with for people to sign as a pledge that they will not use the “R” word. Maggie, who just spoke to her own student body at the Detroit Lakes High School on Wednesday, says she gets a mixture of positive and negative feedback.
“There was a young guy who came up to me and said, ‘You’re not going to change the world you know, there’s no point in doing this,’ and I said, ‘I’m not trying to change the world, I’m just trying to change you — it’s one person at a time,” said Maggie. And while the Wothe women know that some view the pageant world in a negative light, they say it has given them both strength and a platform to get people’s attention. “It gave me a voice — It isn’t about getting attention for yourself, but for what you’re promoting,” said Maggie, who began looking for pageants for her sister a couple of years ago.
“I am not the ‘R’ word,” said Amanda. “I can do anything I want.”