Beauty pageants may seem the best way to increase confidence in young women and become their first step to success. They give women of many minority cultures a voice. Not only that, they also help increase their contacts, thus enabling more job opportunities in the fields of acting, business, music, and dance. This may all seem quite convincing but research shows otherwise. Beauty pageants are harmful not only to ordinary women but also to the entire society because they give women the feeling that they are inadequate and ugly, leading to dieting and eating disorders, cosmetic surgery, and has a larger effect on men's attitude towards women.
A major effect of beauty pageants on women is that they encourage feelings of inadequacy and present an unrealistic ideal that is often unattainable. The skinny models on such platforms, that are their main focus, come across to millions of female viewers as a set standard that should be maintained in order to look beautiful and achieve success in life. Having idealistic features such as a body size 0, flawless skin, a certain height, and shiny long brown hair becomes the most important objective in the lives of women. If unable to fulfill these desires, it leads to lower self-esteem and self-perception. A major global study, The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report, Dove found that only 2% of women around the world perceive themselves as beautiful (Dove, n.d.). This statistic clearly points out that something is definitely wrong in this regard and needs to be modified.
The fact that women see themselves as inadequate and ugly leads them to find ways to change their body shape. They undertake extreme measures of weight loss, undergo fad diets and engage in intense exercise. It is good to worry about being healthy and controlling portion sizes, but when this notion goes beyond the normal, it results in eating disorders. Anorexia (excessive weight loss) and bulimia (binge eating) are two of the most dangerous eating disorders seen quite often among today's female generation. All this leaves them looking nothing more than skin on bones. Not only does it affect their physical appearance, it also leads to severs health problems and affects their fertility rate.
Another consequence of this feeling of inadequacy among women is their decision to go under the knife. Cosmetic surgeries are becoming more and more common among today's female generation. A study found that "nearly 11.7 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed in the US in 2007 – which represents an increase of nearly 500% in the overall number of cosmetic procedures in the past ten years" (as cited in "Beauty At Any Cost", 2008, p. 3). In an attempt to modify their body shape and size, women undergo weight reduction procedures such as liposuction and stomach stapling which are quite harmful and sometimes fatal. Other cosmetic procedures include nose jobs, breast implants, eyelid surgery, facelifts, and Botox...