I'm writing a paper on the perception of beauty, and I'm interested in how the general public perceives beauty pageants. so, what do you think of them..are they stupid? are the girls in them stupid/sexy/slutty/beautiful/smart/etc?is it demeaning or empowering to women? if your girlfriend won one, what would you think?
I am a mature male, a widowed father and I have lived an open minded life, I should like to contribute to your question replies. Your paper is on the subject "Perception of Beauty" but the main thrust of what has been addressed by yourself and others is the beauty pageant. Pageants happen every once in a while and nowadays there are many beauty contests for both genders - but not called that!
The everyday pageant is what is before our eyes and what corresponds to this in our minds. Our history as a species leaves us as we were long ago - instinctively searching for the mother or father of our offspring - whether we like it or not. The children of all species are made to be appealing with large eyes and helpless features. In fact if you look at the baby-doll faces of many pageant contestants there is a mask of infantilisation calculated to appeal to the parenting instinct of the judges. We see little adult beauty either of body, heart or mind,
The pursuit of artificial feminine beauty may be a retreat into a comfort zone, if people are sufficiently self confident and secure they can feel the less need to use cosmetics and the need to enhance breasts or lips etc is less needful. We live for the most part in an actual or potentially brutal world, we have too much time for leisure which does not tax us, I have known many academics and athletes who need no cosmetics and have never given thought to enhancement but who can be very sensual and sexual as well as competent parents and have a sort of beauty that shines from within to sufuse their looks that comes from a different perspective than the consumerism that drives the media, the fashion industry and ultimately pageants.
I have been confided in by many men who have told me they 'fancy' long legged svelte figure types because other men have bowed to peer pressure and they have acted in turn to the peer pressure that a catwalk or celeb figure is desirable. This can have dire effects, if a man is peer pressured into marrying a slim woman and his 'turn on' is a fuller figure then this can lead to erection dysfunction because the vigour of infatuation cannot continue however great the love if the primary drive is needful. I wonder whether the huge number of relationship breakdowns after marriage are in some case caused by this. This means children if any are the secondary sufferers of the beauty peer pressure myth.
A small aside ... a few years ago I wanted a pair of classically [tastefully] posed statuettes to grace my mantle shelf, a sort of personal beauty pageant. I have looked in many shops and scoured the internet - plenty of svelte figurines but not one pair of ladies who I could see in Ingres' painting "The Turkish Bath"!
I would suggest that beauty pageants be prepared to show ladies with and without cosmetics and men with and without body oil and fake tan ... let them talk for a quarter of an hour on a subject that really moves them and will move the audience. What a difference perhaps!
I don't get beauty pageants really, what someone thinks is beautiful someone else will think is horrible, its all about facial symmetry and being proportionate... I don't think the girls are stupid, but they do have to answer stupid questions and they are expected to give cute aswers and be nice for the sake of winning. I know someone who won miss northern ireland here and she is really pretty, but when she won it she was plastered in makeup and looked nothing like hersef really its a shame because she is prettier without it. I've also dated a model who was gorgeous, yes low self esteem, but I think she is the smartest girl I've ever met with one exception, and even then the other girl is 7 years older, at 23 so I don't think it defines the person really.
This comment is to the questioner, I hope it appears in the right place for you to see! Thank you for your kind thoughts. I am involved in the world of academia but at a distance, I am decreasing rapidly in health and that is set to continue but I do provide guidance in a few fields - I do not want to offer too many details just as you prefer to be anonymous :o)
I have lived a varied life in different places and know many people of different races and persuasions. I have been lucky to have met some wonderful people, some well known and some who tend the vinyards behind the scenes. I have known great pleasure and I have known years of yearning and disappointment. I have been lucky to know what it is to have and to have not. My late wife was instrumental in helping many people with different sorts of problems and I have a very close friend who has been a magazine 'agony aunt' who asked me to look at this site ... I saw your question and signed in so as to offer you help with your paper.
Although I was pleased to help I am concerned that it may be inappropriate for me to respond to some questioners as I am a "Silver Surfer" and questioners may be below the age of majority and may wish to message me. I have spent some effort in advising young people to be ultra careful on the web and the more I look I seem to be much the oldest person on here! Perhaps I ought to ask the question of what people think about this ... also whether wisdom such as my lifetime provides is really helpful given the way the world has moved on!
I know that my offspring are able to offer me more advice than I can usefully give them about the world in general and they are older than the majority on this system.
The Agony Aunt lady would love to have been involved in a website like this long before websites were around! Sadly like me she is in very poor health but says I have offered a cogent and reasonable answer and with me, hopes you will do well with your paper.
I have offered my opinion and been awarded "Best Answer" status but there many cogent points in other answers.
I have been thinking about this subject more deeply and seeing an answer by a lady below gave me an insight, I hope the lady in question does not mind me quoting her;-
".. for some reason, dumb girls are seen as prettier in our society" ...
This should ring alarm bells because just as women are made up to look doe-eyed and vulnerable and delicate as bone china in these competions, the silliness they are compelled to utter vocally offers more vulnerability, in sum they are made to be as childlike as possible rather than like the real women of the world who have to bear so much to be considered "equal" and forsake so much to be considered "equal". Why men feel "Threatened" by a naturally intelligent, strong and beautiful woman I have no idea, women have to be stronger than men to bear the miracle of childbirth and to cope with the effects of the decisions mostly made by the men in their life and the men in all our political lives.
Maybe these pageants ought to have a segment where ladies of experience of life can talk about how they fought to keep their inner beauty alive and judge the contestants on how they respond to that?
Also let us remember one thing ... male beauty pageants [Mr Universe etc] are judged on the grunt factor - all we have to do is stand there and quiver a muscle or two. [I had to quiver three!] Women are judged on femininity - which is not totally inate. It is learned by watching as a little girl how Mom sits, walks, behaves and uses manners. She is socialised into feminine ways ... whereas a man just has to be a male of the species in the most basic fashion.
As a result of the above thoughts I conclude that in the way that they are currently held these pageants do indeed demean women and also demean men. As humans we can have beauty in our hearts and our minds and to rise above the roles we are socialised into - a woman can be brave and strong and forthright as well as pretty and have a cute dimple; men can have emotions and are able to see the emotional effect and rebounds of their presence in the world ... we just need to be more open minded as a society and allow people to be people rather than categorised into degrees of the ideal.
There are some girls there that are beautiful and others...not so much. Some are intelligent and others aren't very smart. I don't find pageants stupid, and they are no more demeaning than modeling in general, but I've never really seen it as demeaning anyway. The contestants are models. If my girlfriend won one, I would congratulate her on an accomplishment that not just anyone can have.
I also agree with what the anonymous guy said about the pageants for young girls.
I don't really care for beauty pageants. I really think that they are pointless because they don't really prove/represent anything. I think that beauty pageants are a way for the corporations to control the female consumer, shaping the way they think about beauty. Guys don't need beauty pageants to ogle at girls, if my girlfriend won one I wouldn't think any differently about her, it's really like winning any other competition to me.
There not important. Of course the women I them are not dumb or slutty. THere usually pretty attractive and smart women. However beauty pageants don't portray my personal idea of beauty
I have nothing really against beauty pageants, just the ones with children, like the kind featured in 'Little Miss Sunshine' they make me want to vomit till I die. I can't believe how parents can subject their kids to that kind of judgement and scrutiny; it's sick.
I don't think beauty pageants are about 'beauty' at all. All they seem to promote is the stereotype that to be beautiful as women we need to walk a certain way, be a certain size, wear a certain amount of make-up, and believe. I kind of view them as conformist.
Not that I have anything against girls that enter them - I'm just not a fan of them.
I don't find them demeaning - if someone wants to enter it's their choice, they know what it entails, and what is expected of them. And if they want to - then why not.
I don't find it empowering either - They don't really gain anything from it, just the knowledge that according to a very small view, they are beautiful.
I don't really have any pre-conceived ideas about the people who enter. I'm sure some are stupid, some are sexy, some are beautiful, some are clever, some are just looking for compliments, some are looking for reassurance ...
I don't think they add anything to society, and they promote a goal to young people which isn't really healthy - in many ways both physically and mentally, or inspiring.
Beauty pagents,from my perspective,are demeaning to women.There are beautiful women everywhere of every ethnicity,shape,and size but beauty pageants mainly look at beauty through a narrow-minded veiw,choosing only what the media portrays as beautiful.Beauty should not be about fitting a mold,it should be about unique qualities and a good heart.A beauty pageant only looks at the outside.What do I think about the girls?Well,that really depends on the girl,saying all of the girls are smart or slutty would be a large generalization.I think some of the girls are there because they need reassurance that they are admired by others,and there a probably some girls that just do it for the hell of it.Like I said,it depends on the girl.The only friend I ever had that was in a beauty pageant was forced into it by her parents.Beauty pageants also have no point,no purpose.You get a crown and some flowers,great-what are you going to do with that?Girls fuss and worry and work so hard for these things but for what?You don't get the key to life.You don't automatically become smarter.Physical beauty is only temporary.This is my opinion and what I believe is that beauty pageants are meaningless and no good.I mean no offence to anyone.
First, you have to understand that I am considering being in a pageant someday. I am 5'10 (height) and I think I've got all it takes to be in a pagent, and even win a pagent. I have gotten away with many wrongs because of the way I talk,and smile my way out of things.
i am aware that it is not everyone that has that type of luck or gift, whatever it is. but I say that beauty is a gift, and everyone knows that gifts are good, and fun right...
so, from experience, I would say that beauty is empowering to women.
Beauty is usually perceived as either "inner" or "outer," right? Personally, I find beauty a combination of both. Outer beauty is NOTHING without the personality and individuality to go with it, just as inner beauty alone is not completely satisfying. Beauty is generally a hard term to define...it is usually based upon a person's perspective. Beauty is definitely put across very falsely these days! That brings me to the subject of pageants. Beauty pageants started a long time ago, as a form of entertainment. I DO think it's demeaning to women. But, more importantly, it puts unbelievably WRONG standards of beauty for the society to follow.
To be beautiful, you don't have to have 4D breasts, 5 foot long legs, and perfect features.
Because behind that "perfect" face is NOTHING.
How is that beautiful?
The girls in the pageants are usually described in one word: fake.
Fake hair, fake teeth, fake lashes, and fake boobs.
It's sad that we've come to perceive THAT as beautiful.
I don't really think about them ... It's a shame that women are mainly judged for their beauty, but at least pagents call on other skills such as speaking. Parading girls out to be judged for their physical qualities kinda reminds me of livestock judging at the fair though, haha. I'm kind of indifferent to them. Better than strip clubs or some of the crap on tv that is only about womens T & A and how men can score with them.
I personally cannot stand beauty pagents -the girls I like best are always voted out early on. Everyone is pretty/smart/kind/sexy/altruistic in exactly the same way, which is fine I guess, but also completely boring. At a dog show, whichever cocker spaniel is closest the the breed standard (the pre-conceived notion of what the perfect cocker spaniel looks like) gets first place. Beauty pagents work just about the same way.
I think beauty pagaents today are boring as hell. And corporate money making endeavours that only ring fake fake fake!
However a beauty pagaent seems to me like it's evolved from a desire to celebrate beauty. Inner, oute whatever. Total beauty. We are obsessed by beauty and there's no running away from it.
Around the world, many cultures celebrate beauty in a most unique fashion. It's is not for the cause of profit, but celebration in itself is enough.Lots of festivals, dances etc... Animals and birds have their own form of showing off their beauty and often it is the males that strive to attract the females.
As human beings in this century, what do we want from it. Success, competition, make up, money and status I guess. It's a personal choice but I can't stand child pageants. I think it's awful!
I think they are more danaging than helpful, it's not like it used to be in the old days were it was a pagent of morals and how good of a person she was with beauty. now days, it's about how "hot" a girl is aside from her talents. I really think that it's too super-ficial for anything good to some of it.
I think they're horrible. They place all of a woman's self-worth in her looks and that is just wrong.
As a slight feminist, somethings such as beauty pageants do not sit to well with me. It's more demeaning then empowering. Some girls think it's empowering because of the whole people looking at how beautiful they are while wearing sparkling dresses. But it demeans because they just reinforce the idea that in order to be the standard beauty you have to look a certain typical way. Pageants don't encourage individuality; they encourage the "ideal" type mold for females. To be quite honest, the girls start to look the same as the years progress because they are all made up to look a set way. Pageants purposefully ask girls dumb questions so they don't promote anything that requires a show of intelligents. Now that's not the girls' faults; it's the pageants.
Most girls in pageants just feed off the attention, which isn't healthy for them either. One negative comment either sends them into a "Bitch, I'm better than you" mode or a panic to change. Though I do agree with what someone else said about the children pageant. They are completely horrible and there is no reason to subject your child to that kind of scrutiny at such a young age. As for the older girls, it is their decision so they have the right to do what makes them happy just like anyone else.