2 Different Sides To Beauty Pageants


Nancy Beston and Kerrigan Edwards

An Unhealthy Unrealistic Expectation of Beauty – Nancy Beston

On Sept. 16, 2013, Nina Davuluri won the crown and the title of Miss America. The Miss America Pageant is one of the most famous pageants in the world. It also has been a source of controversy because it focuses on physical appearances and promotes unrealistic female attributes. As most people know, there are psychological effects of beauty pageants that the contestants struggle with. Yet, the crowned Miss America claims that the pageant promotes female empowerment. It seems that in Nina Duvuluri’s world, female empowerment suggests women should rely on their good looks to succeed. While it certainly makes for a pretty picture, is it a positive one? I don’t believe so. 

Beauty pageants are not only toxic for women, but they have placed unrealistic beauty standards into younger girls, such as that women should be tall, thin, and conventionally beautiful in order to have successful lives. It’s also proven that beauty contests can cause lower self-esteem and issues with body image. It’s a lot of pressure to be put on someone; because only women who look like they belong in magazines, television, and movies are going to have a successful pageant career. 

This all begins when young females participate in beauty pageants. In the popular TLC reality show, “Toddlers and Tiaras”, mothers, and sometimes fathers, dress up their little girls in frilly dresses, sequined talent outfits, and swimsuits in hopes of winning crowns and money. It’s just like Miss America. That’s what makes it unbelievably scary, because the parents make the little girls look like grown women. Parents cover their little girls’ natural beauty by using spray tanners and makeup. In addition, the little girls often lose teeth, a natural process of growing up, so parents will add fake teeth to replace the ones that have been lost. The result is an unnatural portrait of what a little girl should look like. Moreover, that image stays with little girls as they mature because they grow up with the idea that they should continue to look like perfect women. It is emotionally and physically unhealthy to try and uphold an image that others have created.

On the other side of the argument, beauty pageant advocates claim young girls who participate in beauty competitions grow up to be confident and secure women who know how to interact with others. Though this could be true, personality and social skills can also depend on children’s upbringing and home environments. There are some things that cannot be learned on a stage. School activities such as sports are healthy avenues and will teach others to act and work with others. Perhaps beauty pageants are educational and confidence boosting to some, but the negative effects include depression and low self-esteem. In addition, young girls who participate in pageants learn that beauty equals success. While some may believe beauty pageants are harmless, they should have rules, such as France’s new law, that regulates the content of young children’s beauty pageants.


The Battle With Beauty – Kerrigan Edwards

With competition being a prevalent part of our lifestyles for many years, it’s no surprise that we have to bring the world’s most beautiful people to the same place and put them head to head. The first real beauty pagent was in 1854. The competition was created by Phineas Taylor Barnum and was located in Atlanta City. But, it was cancelled last minute due to a public protest. 

On some levels, I think that beauty pageants are a good idea because they can provide scholarships and opportunity to those who need it, and they also allow participants to feel appreciated and almost honored. On the other hand, the only way that a beauty pageant could be remotely enjoyable for children would be if they were able to choose whether or not they actually wanted to participate. I believe that one of the bigger mistakes that parents make when signing their children up for these contests is asking the kid if they actually want to do it.

 Television shows such as “Toddlers in Tiaras” are extremely unhealthy for everyone involved. The little girls experience more stress from their mothers and fathers yelling at them to be perfect than anything else they should have to go through. However, if the individual competing is passionate about this, they should be allowed to be involved as much as they wish.

I hope that more beauty pageants start making all body types acceptable, and also all races. For example, in 2019 the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was cancelled, and some believe that it was due to the release of Rihanna’s new line named “Savage X Fenty.” Unlike Victoria’s Secret models, those in the Savage X Fenty show had a variety of body types, making this more appealing to all body positive individuals. 

I cannot say that all beauty pageants are bad, or that all of them are good either. But, I can’t make an executive decision about something that I’ve never tried.