The Ethics Of Beauty Pageants Essay

1668 words - 7 pages

Modern beauty contests started in the United States of America in 1880 with the first Miss United States bathing beauty contest held at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Since then, beauty pageants had been popular in many parts of the world. Miss Universe, Miss World and Miss International, participated in every year by more than fifty countries, ceaselessly attracts huge audiences and supporters. The biggest, the Miss World competition, had been running annually since 1951, and although it is less popular in the UK now than it was in 1968, when it attracted 27.5 million TV viewers, it still attracts an enormous worldwide audience of up to 3 billion viewers in 120 countries. [1] Although the main purpose of these pageants are to empower women, the crowned winners are also traveling around the world in order to support causes like HIV/AIDS and children's charity organizations. [2] Due to the success of these internationally produced pageants, various beauty contests for different classes of age, sex and sexuality stemmed up. However, even with the huge diversity, the content of each pageants have almost always been the same: all of them are comprised of the mainstream categories like swimwear portion and evening gown portion. With these content, beauty pageants gives out strong messages regarding what the ideal type of woman is, hence undermining the purpose of a beauty pageant: to empower women. Thus, although beauty pageants contribute to the entertainment of the masses, it promotes an ideal of female beauty that only a minority of women can realistically aspire, objectifies women, further advances cultural insensitivity among its candidates and uses up too much resources which is why it should be banned.

Beauty, often defined as universal and objective, is a quality which society dictates that women must want to embody. It is said that its embodiment is essential to women for men naturally seek out beautiful women, thus making beautiful women more successful reproductively. [3] However, according to Naomi Wolf, none of this is true. Rather than being universal and changeless, beauty is diverse and developing. [4] With the various feminist movements, beauty and femininity as a whole was redefined which resulted to women being freed from their position in the social hierarchy. Women became free to pursue education, enter a profession, and even join the world of politics. However, with the recent rising of beauty pageants, women, rather than feeling liberated, became enslaved by the seemingly prescribed notion of beauty. [5]


In beauty pageants, the physical appearances of contestants are a huge part of the cri. Before the contest, the contestants undergo screening where they are ordered to wear swimsuits, sport evening gowns and undergo interviews. Afterwards, they attend pre-pageant activities like sponsor visits in order to garner exposure. While beauty pageants are often said to be a contest where beauty, brains, and talent are measured,...

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