Beauty pageants lower women's self-worth, self-esteem

Beauty pageants are a plague on our society.

From infancy on, beauty pageants teach women that all you need to succeed in life is beauty. The pressures and expectations of pageants can lead to plastic surgery and eating disorders as young girls strive to achieve perfection that doesn’t exist.

Both my cousin and I were pageant children, though I got out of pageantry at a young age before it took its dreadful toll on me. My cousin, on the other hand, stayed in pageants until she was in high school.

Every time she lost a pageant, her self-esteem shot to an all-time low. For as pretty she was on the outside, she didn’t feel like it. She told me on multiple occasions how she didn’t feel good enough to win and how she wished her mother hadn’t put her in the pageants when she was younger. She has struggled with both anorexia and bulimia at one point in her pageant career, and that was after the 500-calorie diet she was put on when she was 9.

Nicole Hunter, a former child beauty contestant and writer of “Effects of Beauty Pageants,” wrote about how she doesn’t know how to feel attractive without make up on.

Beauty pageants teach children worth of a person is almost solely based on appearance. Beauty pageants not only have physical consequences for these women and girls, but they also objectify women in a way that is straight out of the 1950s.

Pageants are everywhere in society, from small towns to movies to colleges. These pageants are open to young women who have been brought up to believe that as long as you have looks, you’ll succeed. These girls in pageants often have layers of make up, fake nails, fake hair and fake breasts. They are paraded in bikinis in front of audiences, asked silly questions, told to perform a highly superficial talent, and judged on it.

Though pageants, like the D-Queen pageant, try to stray away from the stereotypical beauty-first image, they still fall short. Girls either stay away from the pageant because they think they will not win or the judges still take into account how good a contestant looks in a dress. Amanda Angelotti, author of “Confessions of a Beauty Pageant Drop-Out,” talks about how even the beauty pageants that focus less on looks still have the ability to turn smart, talented women into life-sized dolls. 

If a woman wants to look good and get dressed up, she’s entitled to. However, that does not mean she should be subject to judgment based on how she looks.  

This objectification of women based on archaic beliefs needs to stop. Women are so much more than looks; they have brains and personalities. They deserve to be treated like people and not cattle to be poked and proddedon stage.

So, students of DSU, educate yourselves. Embrace a modernized sense of decency, one that doesn’t objectify women. Don’t be a sucker for the glamor of beauty pageants and contests designed to make women feel as if they aren’t good enough.

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