Beauty Pageant Sexism – Disagree

It seems inherent to the age-old issue of feminism that a woman is either beautiful and stupid, or homely and smart. Beauty does not quantify intelligence. In fact, one has nothing to do with the other. So then, why must the argument of sex and beauty automatically be correlated with intelligence and feminism?

While the feminists and bra-burners of both today and yesteryear are busy beating their chests on the importance of equality, fair treatment in the workplace, and equal opportunity for men and women alike, they have so often forgotten the beauty that is being a woman. They have so often forgotten that while we must secure our place in society as valuable, contributing citizens and capable members of society, we can also do so with poise, class and grace.

Why must there be such conflict between the soft, elegant “nature” of a feminine beauty and the stereotypical hard exterior and anger-ridden brow of the all-important feminist who breaks the glass ceiling? Why can’t we, as women, be both?

What must be reconciled is the ability for women to be both beautiful and simultaneously intelligent beings. And while these women do in fact exist, (I’d like to consider myself to be one) they are almost always viewed as two separate groups; one identified by diplomas and the other by handbags.

Beauty contests, by their very nature, are meant to judge beautiful people. For that there is no doubt. However, the women who enter these competitions (or “subject” themselves, for the sake of this particular argument) clearly know what they are getting into. There is no smoke and mirrors show taking place. It is called a “beauty contest” for good reason.

Why then does this debate ensue?

The truth of the matter is there is a severe disconnect between those who understand what a beauty contest is and those who think they understand what a beauty contest means. And in addition to that disconnect, as I’ve said, lies the societal division between beauty and intelligence.

A beauty contest is a competition based on beauty. Not IQ. For many, it is a sport. It is a boost to self-confidence and a means for validation. It is not right or wrong. It is not degrading to those who choose to compete. It is not harmful in any way to those who choose to watch. It is, for all intents and purposes, a true spectator sport.

What nay-sayers think to be sexist, barbaric and demeaning, can be empowering, encouraging and enjoyable for the contestants. But just as a beauty queen would not strap on her 5 inch heals and ball gown to attend a board meeting, a C.E.O. would not wear her shoulder pads and glasses to receive her crown as Miss USA. There is a time and a place for everyone and everything.

Who says that a woman can not be wife, mother and C.E.O.? Life is about balance. A woman who competes in a beauty contest may be no less intelligent than a woman who runs a Fortune 500 company and when feminists and beauties finally realize that their respective parties often overlap, then and only then will the executives tune in to watch the swimsuit competition and the tiaras come with a complimentary Mensa membership.