“The real sin against life is to abuse and destroy beauty, even one’s own—even more, one’s own, for that has been put in our care and we are responsible for its well-being.”
— Katherine Anne Porter
Are Beauty Pageants Degrading to Women?
They say that a thing of beauty is joy forever. On the other hand, for every privilege, comes responsibility. A lot of women from all over the world, from all walks of life are dying to join a beauty contest. In the beauty pageant world, not everyone has an equal opportunity. There are rules and regulations to follow before an aspirant is considered as one of the contestants. Although these women firmly believe that if there is no pain, there is no gain. Unquestionably, without a shadow of a doubt, advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Beauty contest means prestige, elegance, money, travel opportunities, and popularity. Who on earth will not want these privileges? But, is entering into a beauty pageant degrading for women? For me, it is not. I strongly believe what Bernard Edmonds said, “to dream anything that you want to dream. That’s the beauty of the human mind. To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will. To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.”
But then again, joining a being a beauty pageant bears a lot of responsibilities. Do not be too fast to judge until you have walked a mile using there high-heeled shoes. It is not easy and simple to look good, raise money for charities, having all eyes on you, visit hospitals, being graceful, and constantly having to smile. Beauty contest winners travel thousands of air miles every year just to do that. All the gracious things they do are always for a cause. Some people see is only the bathing suits. They see the gowns however they do not see the time, effort, discipline, and research that goes into it. The friends, acquaintances, camaraderie that are developed and made there.
For thousands of women worldwide, the benefits prevail over the negative attitudes they might stumble upon. No wonder several pictures, thousands of them are submitted each year for these competitions. The ladies believe that being included in a beauty contest is their way to enter into the professional world. These women want to be actresses, they want to be models, and this is perhaps the easiest way to do it.
While some beauty pageants are focusing and changing more on motivation, intelligence, and knowledge of issues, people outside the pageant organization frequently look at the competitions as degrading and trivial. These spectators do not realize and appreciate that the contestants in some pageants are victorious in other areas of their lives. Classic example is the current Miss Universe Riyo Mori of Japan — crowned at the age of 20. In her tender age she is a self-described “modern-day female samurai,” who prides herself on having a great sense of independence. She is an international ballet dancer and a linguist. “My mother taught me that women can have it all. You don’t have to choose between having a family or career, you can do both” (“Miss Universe 2007”). Riyo is determined on spreading this message and significance of independence and empowerment to women all over the globe, just as her mother has for her.
On the other side of the coin, Mike Johnson, associate professor of sociology and women’s studies said the focal point on issues may just be a mask to sidetrack people from the actual nature of beauty contests. “We are always told beauty is only skin deep, but beauty pageants say. No it does matter, you can get money for college if you look good,” Johnson said. He said in an ideal circumstance, whoever is most qualified would win despite the consequences of what they look like. “Anything that emphasizes the importance of physical appearance is harmful no matter what gender is involved, but the idea is much more institutionalized for women. Beauty pageants are a perfect example” (Logan).
Julianne Hetrick (freshman-nutrition) said contestants should have to appear fit since they are serving as role models who should encourage and persuade people to struggle for good health and nutrition. “You don’t want a role model who is wobbling her way around the stage. You want a fit, healthy model for little kids to imitate” (Logan).
“I know that I’ve got big ears and a big forehead and that my hair sticks up. But I’m happy with myself. I’m not necessarily trying to win a beauty pageant here” (“Beauty pageant quotes”). All I am saying is that there is nothing degrading to a beauty contest. With all the splendor, fame, brilliance, and glory: absolutely not.
ThinkExist.com Quotations. “Beauty quotes & quotations.” 2006. reg. 27 June 2007 <http://thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/beauty/>.
“Contestants: Pageants focus on brains, ability over beauty, bathing suits.” 2000. Collegian Inc. 27 June 2007 <http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/1994/03/03-16-94tdc/03-16-94dnews-2.asp>.
Privacy Statement. 27 June 2007 <http://www.missuniverse.com/missuniverse/index.html>.