FlippED is an ED Original style wherein two bloggers come together to share their opposing or orthogonal perspectives on an interesting subject.

A beauty pageant or beauty contest is a competition that traditionally focuses on judging and ranking the contestants’ physical attributes. Pageants have now evolved to also include criteria for judging personality, intelligence, talent, character, and charitable involvement through private interviews with judges and answers to public on-stage questions.

But, do these beauty pageants truly inspire and empower young people, or are they simply promoting unrealistic beauty standards? Our bloggers fight it out!

Blogger Palak’s Opinion

For a very long time now, beauty pageants have been under scrutiny because people believe that they promote unrealistic and ideal beauty standards for women as well as men. However, I deny this fact, for now, beauty pageants have changed for the good. 

I agree that beauty pageants have a long way to go and they have to do a lot of work, however, they have improved a lot. Now, beauty pageants aren’t just alone about beauty, it’s also about intelligence and knowledge. 

An epitome of the same is the winning answer of Manushi Chillar in the Miss World 2017 pageant. She was asked, “Which profession should receive the highest salary in the world?”, to which Manushi replied, A mother’s profession should receive the highest salary and respect in the world.”

The above example shows that beauty pageants are changing with the changing mindsets of the people.

I believe that beauty pageants give a platform to young women to show the world their knowledge and skills and empower the entire women community as a whole. It is much needed in a patriarchal world like ours, for society has always given priority to a woman’s beauty rather than her knowledge.  

It is widely believed that women must be beautiful in order to get a husband. However, beauty pageants show the world that we don’t just care about our looks but we also have the knowledge and that we are proud of it. 

Moreover, if we are talking about beauty right now, let me just put this here too that beauty pageants are not degrading women’s beauty or promoting an “ideal notion of beauty”. Instead, they are highlighting their best features and making them confident as they are. 

Long gone are the days when beauty pageants just included slim, lean, and fair women. Today, you’ll see women from varied shapes, sizes, and varied skin colors rocking the platform with both beauty and brains.

Beauty pageants have a lot to do with empowering women and giving them a platform to hone their skills, highlight their beauty, and feel confident in the way they are. 

Also, women and men, who are lacking self-love, facing identity issues and problems in accepting themselves, should see beauty pageants from this angle and see how it elevates their confidence and empower them to the core! 

Blogger Soundarya’s Opinion

Beauty pageants might be educational and boost confidence for some, but personally, I feel they do more harm than good. The only thing that’s highlighted in beauty pageants is Beauty=Success. 

“Ideal” Who? 

Women and men are subjected to unreasonable standards of what a superficial society considers beautiful. And, because we are a susceptible species, we accept these models as examples of what an ideal society should resemble. That is the snag of beauty pageants; they leave us demotivated and dissatisfied with how we actually are! 

Also Read: We Can’t Always Blame The Society For Toxic Beauty Standards, Gender Roles & Biases

Beauty pageants set unrealistic standards for the “ideal” standard of beauty, with all of its curves and edges. When pageants award titles such as Miss Beautiful Smile, Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality, and Miss Beautiful Eyes, they are literally defining what every perfect bodily feature should look like.

It would be pointing out the obvious to say that the beauty pageants are designed to serve the male gaze.

The requirement to conform to a specific body type, or the inclusion of elements such as the swimsuit competition (which is no longer a part of some contests), are more than just ways of measuring and comparing women’s beauty (which is problematic in and of itself).

They are a means of putting on a display sexualized versions of women for the male gaze, under the guise of “celebrating women’s beauty.”

If women are forced to walk, talk, smile, and act in a certain way, I believe it goes against the traditional notion of what we women expect from society, particularly regarding “Freedom.”

Contestants’ Deteriorating Health

The long-term effects of beauty pageants on their contestants are never disclosed but we need to know the backstory of every girl who wants to become a supermodel. These women and children may develop eating disorders as a result of the diets they follow to improve their appearance. 

Bulimia and anorexia are two disorders that have frequently occurred to beauty pageant contestants in recent times. Bulimia is the act of eating and then forcing the body to throw up, whereas anorexia is when they are underweight for their age and height. This is most likely due to not eating enough or the body not receiving enough nutrients and proteins.

It’s understandable to use plastic surgery to help your body bounce back after a pregnancy or a car accident, but when you’re being pressured by managers and society, it becomes oppressive.

Most celebrity women were coerced into doing these things by their managers, who believed it would help them gain more fame. On the darker side of things, these dangerous changes can result in death. 

There are even beauty factories that offer procedures to girls as young as 12 years old, such as implants, liposuction, and hormone therapy. Venezuela is home to the world’s largest manufacturing corporations of these beauty factories. 

Setting an unusual standard should never be used to determine whether or not someone can be a humanitarian and a representative of goodwill in the world.

Shouldn’t the decision be based on a system that is less shallow and more inclusive? There are already too many real problems in the world for us to create more.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Bloggers own opinions; First Post; BBC News

Find the blogger: @chiinniiiii

This post is tagged under: beauty pageants; beauty contests; Miss India; Miss World; Miss Teen; Miss Universe; Mr. India; models; supermodels; Unrealistic Beauty standards; Young Women; Beauty; Physical appearance in beauty pageants; Unusual Standard in beauty pageants; pageants

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  1. Beauty pageants certainly do one thing. They make beauty crown aspirant women of non Caucasian and non Mongoloid descent labour nearly all their lives to shed or hide as many of their racial features and acquire fake Caucasian looks. This is particularly true for aspirant women from countries such as India. Caucasian facial features are widely considered as the most prized and desirable assets among Indian beauty contestants and pageant judges. But their distinct features such as thick lips give the game away regardless of their mammoth labour with cosmetics, surgery and mannerisms.


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