Not long ago, a friend of mine participated in a beauty contest and was quite successful – 3-rd place. Some time before the contest, she called me excitedly and asked to vote for her and cross my fingers for her. I knew she was expecting me to call her later and congratulate her for her success.
But I couldn't make myself do it. I just couldn't.
Seeing my friend – whom I've known for about 12 years – right there on the catwalk, wearing nothing but translucent underwear… it was more than I could handle. How on earth are young women encouraged to sell themselves so cheaply – and look so happy about it?
Half of the participants were as young as 16. You wouldn't know when you looked at them. They tried their best to behave like mature women, with unrestrained sexuality, showing off their body without the least bit of shame. But I knew – and I'm sure deep down they knew it, too – that it's simply not true. They were girls. Teenage girls deprived of their flower of youthful innocence.
I know I risk being called a prude here, but I have the following problem with beauty contests:
1. They don't focus on true beauty, but on a perfect body and pretty face.
We don't know if a particular participant is a selfish, immoral, ungodly person. Does she model truly beautiful femininity? Is she a kind, intelligent, friendly person? We don't know. She wins or loses based on her outward appearance alone.
2. They promote exploitation of young girls and teach young girls to put all their efforts into maintaining their external beauty.
Most of the participants in beauty contests are young – much too young to be exposed like they are to lusts of unworthy men and worldly desires. Traits and skills that will be important to these young women in their future lives are not promoted. They are only taught to be pretty dolls.
3. They create an unrealistic and unhealthy ideal of youth and beauty.
Most of the women who participate in beauty contests are very young and very thin. My friend is tall and skinny, and can eat as much as she wants without gaining weight. But she is an exception from the general rule. Do you know how many of those girls are depriving themselves of proper nutrition? And how many of them already have eating disorders? What about older women (I mean older than 30)? Why does it seem that models disappear after the age of 25? Is a 30-year-old mother, happy and relaxed and with a healthy glow over her face, less desirable because she put on some extra weight?
Let's face it; what we often have behind that catwalk and those gleaming smiles is promotion of promiscuity, eating disorders, immodesty, unhealthy lusts. And this is called a beauty contest?
Disclaimer: when I read this post again, I realized I might have made a generalization here. I'm not saying this is what always happens at these events, but it happens often enough to be a source of concern.