“It was a terrifying experience, but it was so incredible to win this way,” Melisa said. “I believe that many girls of various ages wear makeup because they feel pressured to do so.” (4/22)

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Throughout its history, the concept of the beauty pageant has been both praised and criticized. Although its origins can be traced back to ancient Greece, the popular version was created in the 1850s. Beauty pageants, as explained by PBS, are primarily about putting idealized versions of femininity on a competitive stage and awarding the winner a ‘royal’ title and crown, but they are also about using femininity to represent other issues.

 

According to historians Colleen Ballerino Cohen and Richard Wilk, “whether the title is for Miss Universe or the Crooked Tree Cashew Queen, these contests showcase values, concepts, and behavior that exist at the center of a group’s sense of itself and exhibit values of morality, gender, and place.” The lone woman is elevated to the status of a symbol of national identity, group values, and pride.

 

Others argue that pageant beauty standards do not represent all women, with contestants generally tall, thin, and fair-skinned, resembling traditional Western beauty standards. While beauty pageants may appear to be a fantastic way for women to raise money, gain confidence, find a fun hobby, and better themselves, others believe that pageants waste money and turn women into sexual objects, showcasing beauty first and talent and personality second.

What do you think?

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