Eradication of Beauty Pageants
Published 19 May 2017
The concept of beauty in the society relies on the messages and images that people see on media. Undeniably, the images of women on media sources have become the constructed reality for people which have been hard for women in twentieth century. Most people would probably say that the real beauty lies deep inside the person and that the way a person behaves would still be the measurement of his or her personality; however, the existence of external factors that affect women to dress and act like what they have seen on television have been evident in the society.
Beauty pageants were introduced in the society in the middle of nineteenth century. This event aims to search for the most beautiful woman with the right combination of beauty, talent, and personality (Scranton, 278). Since then, more women have become interested to join in this prestigious event that promises honor, fame, awards, and a princess in a fairy tale moment of her young life. The beauty pageants serve as a beauty competition among ladies in a specific height and age, a promotional event to attract tourism, and a tool for exploring and celebrating ethnic identity. The crown holder after the show has responsibilities and tasks to accomplish and serve as the representative of a certain institution or country to bigger events. The organizers have never failed to invite the aspiring beauty queens to participate in this event; in fact, most women even prepare themselves and wait for the announcement regarding the start of the registration and audition.
Over the century, the mainstream has witnessed the changes of women’s role in the society; in fact, this kind of event manifests the recognition of the people to the ability of women in participating to this kind of occasion. This may sound ironic because beauty pageants often portray the vulnerability of women rather than promoting them to a higher status in the society where the people live and survive through the culture and stereotypes that they have acquired from the past generation. Moreover, this representation of womanhood has been generating variety of responses that reflect societal conflicts beyond gender roles. While some women support beauty pageants and advocate that women who compete in the battle of beauty and brain are role models for young women and that this event provide extraordinary opportunities to them, some are criticizing the pageants because of its oppressive appeal to the society (Lind & Brzyzy, 32). The people get used to seeing beautiful ladies in swim suits or long dresses posing, walking, and turning while displaying their skinny bodies in front of the judges, and millions of television viewers around the world (Yano, 18).
Even though the organizers and participants have been claiming that beauty pageants aim to promote women and their necessity in the society, its entire concept seem to offend women in every way that might dress and name them of new terms of stereotyping. Through beauty pageants, the young women adapt the ideas that this kind of event portray in the mainstream. In the feminist view, this event portrays women as sex object and depicts the vulnerability of women which can only be covered by their beauty and attractiveness. Moreover, it sets women in a social standardization wherein the people expect women to dress and act exactly the way participants did during the competition. Undeniably, beauty pageants have a strong appeal on women making them conform to the images that the organizers and the media convey during the event. The long legged skinny women in a two-piece costume put women to the pedestal making the society think that all women should dress and walk like them in order to be considered as beautiful and attractive. In this manner, the women are being dressed in a new form of fashion trends which give them pressures to follow to the images of these aspiring beauty queens.
Despite many criticisms, there has been increasing number of women who are willing to participate and show their talents and beauty on stage (Dave et al, 213). The indescribable emotion attached to the word “pageant” has been a mystery which most women are aiming to learn and experience as they walk into the spot light. Apparently, beauty pageants have become a popular culture which continuously grow and improve as the world conforms to modernity (Kramarae et al, 105). The exposure of sexy women on television has great impacts on the body image of other women especially the young ones. Through these images, the young adults become conscious of their physical appearance. The thin images of participants also make them think that women are only beautiful at the standard size which has been set by this kind of event. The beauty pageants have become the reflection of real women that should be respected in the society because of their appearance on stage and the fame that they get from participating to this event.
Instead of promoting the essence of women and gaining the respect of the society, beauty pageants are undeniably setting a new standard for them making them more oppressed in the society. The mainstream thinks that a woman should have a long hair, possesses a skinny and sexy body, and owns beautiful dresses and accessories to be able to gain the unordinary treatment of the public. These perfect images do not only portray modern women as young and sexy, but these presentations oppress women in the society wherein most women are already educated and possessing degrees which they could consider as real crowns in the post modern world. Beauty pageants are undeniably entertaining not only for women but also for the whole community because of the excitement that these kinds of shows bring in every episode; however, it also serve as a threat for women that slowly put them below the standard image in the mainstream and put them on the marginalized section of the society.
- Dave, S. Nishime, L. & Oren, T. East Main Street: Asian American Popular Culture. New York: NYU Press, 2005
- Kramarae, Cheris & Spender, Dale. Routledge International Encyclopedia of Women. New York: Routledge, 2000
- Lind, Amy & Brzuzy, Stephanie. Battleground: Women, Gender and Sexuality. USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2008
- Scranton, Philip. Beauty and business: commerce, gender, and culture in modern America. New York: Routledge, 2001
- Yano. Christine. Crowning the nice girl: gender, ethnicity, and culture in Hawaii’s Cherry Blossom Festival. USA: University of Hawaii Press, 2006