Miss America and Beauty Ideals

I don’t know about y’all, but I think this Miss America “beauty” pageant is seriously messing with the minds of girls all over the world. My entire family (minus moi) is sitting in front of the television right now waiting to find out who will be the next Miss America.

Last year there was all kinds of drama surrounding the event because of the fact the Nina Davuluri (the 2013 Miss America) was of Indian decent. This was a classic example of racism of course as race cannot be equated to nationality, nor should race be seen as a mark of superiority or inferiority, but nonetheless, there was public outrage from many people who believed that Nina should not have been crowned Miss America. If you want to see how the views of those outraged individuals are downright wrong, just check out my girl Superwoman’s video below:

Moving on, race is not the only issue that comes about with the Miss America pageant. On the contrary, the very idea of the Miss America pageant representing “beauty” from all over America is another issue which needs to be addressed. I mean, for starters, every single one of the women on stage right now is a toothpick. What kind of message is that sending to women and girls all over the world!? This pageant is just a perpetuation of the unrealistic, unattainable, UNHEALTHY beauty ideals that are the norm in North America.

Add to this the fact that one aspect of the competition is a swimsuit competition, and we begin to see even more issues evolving. Not only is this telling viewers that in order for a woman to be beautiful she must be skinny, but it is also perpetuating the patterns of male dominance that we have seen in society for so long. Lets be real, those women aren’t marching around on stage on national television while wearing bikinis as a way of expressing their self-empowerment. On the contrary, this parade of women is more like a form of dis-empowerment.

The title of Miss America is supposed to be this huge honour, but I mean really, how did you get there? You paraded yourself around in a pretty dress and a bikini then went through a relatively easy question-and-answer test. But lets not forget the fact that you made it all the way through the selection process! Congratulations! Not only do you meet the ageist standards of youthful beauty, but you are also of “reasonably good health”. Which brings me to my next point.

The criteria for eligibility outlines that you must be under 24 (because god forbid someone over 24 is seen as beautiful) and in “reasonably good health” among a list of other things. What bothers me about the latter requirement is the fact that someone who could be suffering from an illness might be excluded simply because of this illness. And what about people with a permanent disability? I would LOVE to know what is classified as “reasonably good health” because apparently its impossible to be beautiful while suffering from an illness.

Needless to say, the Miss America beauty pageant is not very representative of the American population. I mean, sure, they have retired the old racist “only white people” criterion from the pageant, but there are still so many other problems. How about the fact that there is not a single plus-sized woman on stage? How about the fact that there is nobody on stage with a disability? How is it fair that these groups of people are being overlooked?

From where I am standing, this Miss America pageant is excluded 99% of women in the world from the category of “beautiful”. The idealistic portrayals of beauty in the pageant are wrong on SO MANY levels. If you ever find yourself questioning why there are so many girls and women in the world with body image issues and/or eating disorders, take a look at the messages that these women and girls receive about how they need to look in order to be beautiful. I for one am seriously sick of all of these unrealistic expectations.

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