The problem with beauty pageants


Krislynn Stewart, Staff Writer

Beauty Pageants are competitions that usually have women contestants competing against each other, usually judged based on their Physical appearance, Talent, and Personality. These competitions are often brought into your mind with the idea of fashion and entertainment, but for many they are a topic for debate. Beauty pageants are morally wrong in my opinion, but we are going to take a look at both sides.

In 2016, Miss Great Britain was stripped of her title due to having sex (she was an adult woman) on Love Island. Why does a woman committing a very legal act cause her to be decrowned? Does she not have control over her own sexuality? Now most would say “Oh it’s a one-time thing” but the following year, in 2017, The Miss Earth competition featured a bikini competition which in itself is not immoral, but the women were required to cover their faces with white lace and stood in very sensual poses. I thought beauty pageants were about more than how thin and how pretty a woman’s body is. During a study conducted by Penn State University, they found that 48% of contestants desire to be thinner, 57% said they were trying to lose weight, and 26% admitted to having an eating disorder. Does that seem like it’s empowering women? When all of these women seem to hate their bodies during competitions.

In most competitions, the majority of winners are white women, at an insane statistic of 81%. Only 15% of African American contestants over the years have won. There has only been one Hispanic woman and 2 Asian women. Not only are adult women being exploited, but the children are also involved in this. Most children in beauty pageants are made up by wearing hair extensions, fake eyelashes, makeup, bleached/fake teeth, spray tans, and revealing outfits fit for a 20-year-old at the beach. Is this not allowing the sexualization of children? This allows men and women who are grown to judge a CHILD’S body! This even goes as far as toddler pageants. Children should not have bikini pageants. There are ways to make them look cute without making them look “adult”.

Though there are some very valid reasons against pageants, a look on the other side may show why these reasons fly over some people’s heads. The judging rubrics that are publicly released say they are judged over talent, wardrobe, and stage personality. The original design of this was to empower women. It was made for us to grab a chance at winning something by showing all kinds of women could win. The pageants also promote social connections, and self-discipline, they offer opportunities like scholarships, encourage charitable work, and lead to other well-paying jobs

Do these reasons make the problems okay? Do economic and social opportunities make up for the exploitation of women and young girls? I personally don’t think so. I think the problem with beauty pageants is that they were never made to empower women. It was made for those who want to gawk and scrutinize women’s bodies. It was made for those who have no respect for us being our own beings and having control of our own selves. So again, I make the point that beauty pageants are shameful and disgraceful to society and compromise a woman’s mental, physical, and emotional health.