The advent of beauty contests (or their American counterpart, beauty pageants) goes back to 1839, when Georgiana Seymour was crowned the “Queen of Beauty” at the Eglinton Tournament, which took place in the UK. Nevertheless, it was not until the 1880s that they became incredibly popular. These contests soon became ingrained as a tradition and, despite the efforts of the feminist movement, the craze for idealizing a certain type of feminine figure (euphemistically called a ‘beauty canon’) remained on the rise until well into the twenty-first century. The question is whether this kind of parades does any favours for contestants in particular, and for women in general.
To begin with, we must consider who are behind these contests. Apparently, these events are patronised by ridiculously rich businessmen. They will go to great lengths to keep them going, especially seeing how well beauty contests stand the test of time and, surprisingly, because it brings about the virtual collapse of any venture aimed to tackle discrimination against women. Feminism ends up depicted as bigoted whereas beauty contests come up trumps, projecting a liberal and clean-cut image. Of course, sponsors shell out huge amounts of money to build up a false image of the opposition groups: for example, discussion panels on TV, radio and papers abound with deliberately appointed journalists literally covering all age groups and time slots.
It is little wonder that feminist attempts to campaign against this practice fell on deaf ears. I imagine that such a cherished and deep-rooted a tradition would take decades to defy. In fact, governments and the general public have yet to develop the moral awareness that a change of this magnitude would demand. It goes without saying that we are already starting to see a fading of this craze, but we are far from its end. Only by raising awareness of this neglected issue would we able to combat such a nonsense. In general, we cannot help but reject any liberal remark defending beauty contests on account of liberalism. Liberalism does not equal male chauvinism. We have to say it aloud over and over. Male chauvinism does not equal liberalism
Back to the question raised before, obviously being the “Queen of Beauty” is pointless. Human beings grow old and beauty has a perishable nature. How on earth are we going to create a better future if we are literally like Bill Murray on Groundhog Day, doomed to relive the same old-fashioned and degrading treatment day in and day out. If only we could shift the focus from outward appearances to what is on the inside. What about a beautiful mind contest then? I am completely sure that it would attract far more people around the globe. And do not get me wrong, it would not be restricted to women. Gender equality requires a level playing field.