Beauty Pageants Essay

1027 words - 4 pages

Throughout history, mankind has promoted excellence through primitive rituals, community events, and collectively instilled ideals. Beauty pageants represent one of these efforts in their endeavor to define femininity and grace as well as ever-changing gender roles in society. While some believe beauty pageants to be harmless social events that provide educational and national advancement, spawn awareness for charitable causes, and encourage confidence, others suggest that such competitions confuse societal morals, exploit women, and instill insecurity in young girls worldwide.
Since their conception, beauty pageants have ventured to better society and those who reside within it. Such pageants have helped in providing educational and national advancement for their contestants. Pageants “[support] the contestants in the pursuit of higher education” through academic scholarships generally available to finalists that further the intellectual advancement of women (Stoeltje). Contestants also acquire “the symbolic power of representing one's community or nation” in these contests, offering them the opportunity to establish national pride for their country in events such as Miss World (Stoeltje). Their involvement often brings “the dynamic process of the creation of gender roles…in response to historical and socioeconomic circumstances…into the public eye, revealing contradictions, conflicts, and changes as they are evolving” (Stoeltje). Pageants also spawn awareness for charitable causes in the midst of the advertisement of their competitions. They acknowledge and raise funds for local and national charitable causes as well as churches, schools, and businesses in the community. One contest at the Indiana University in Bloomington emphasized awareness of AIDS and donated all profits to the organization YouthAIDS (Stoeltje). Winners of Miss World embark on an expedition of visiting and supporting an array of global charity operations supported by the pageant’s “Beauty with a Purpose” program (“Plea…London”). In addition to providing educational advancement and support for charities, beauty pageants allegedly encourage a form of confidence in their participants. It has been said that these contests are, at their core, “competitions to select a queen function to define and distinguish females who have reached maturity” (Stoeltje). Laura Coleman, winner of Miss England 2008, has also argued controversy with her idea of such competitions “[empowering] women,” as well as her claim that “appreciating beauty should not cause anger” (“Plea…London”). Miss America 1995 winner Heather Whitestone, deaf from birth, gained a remarkable and genuine confidence while also creating a new recognition of people with disabilities (Stoeltje). Though corruption eventually ensued, beauty pageants were created with and continue to spark, to a certain extent, the venture to better society and those who reside within it.
Though beauty pageants were designed with beneficial...

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