Beauty contests are competitions where women compete against each other in a variety of contests. These include talent demonstrations, speaking opportunities and appearance-based competitions. While these contests are popular amongst women, they are growing in popularity for young girls, competing against other girls in their range group in many of these same competitions.
Contestant preparation for beauty contests is expensive. Contestants are responsible for paying for their own entrance fee, clothing costs, professional coaching costs, photograph costs, hair preparation costs and makeup costs. The total costs of preparation for a beauty contest can be $8000 or more, as of the date of publication. This expense is close to the potential winnings for smaller competitions, leaving competitors who do not win paying the high costs to compete in regular contests.
Damage to Ego
Beauty contests focus on physical attractiveness as a primary competitive feature, which can leave competitors who regularly do not perform well feeling physically inadequate. These feelings of inadequacy can have negative repercussions on the self-esteem and ego of competitors. This effect can be more severe in younger competitors, such as young girls who compete in youth beauty contests. Feelings of inadequacy can stay with an individual, influencing her self-perception well into adulthood. Alternately, contestants who show regular success in beauty contests can develop feelings of superiority and an overdeveloped sense of self-worth.
While the actual physical involvement in a beauty contest is not physically debilitating, the preparation that some contestants go through to perform well in beauty contests can be. This includes the perception that a beauty contestant should maintain a certain weight. While a healthy diet and exercise helps, contestants can face pressure to do more to control their weight. This includes eating too little food to stay healthy or regurgitating food once eaten. Doctors refer to these conditions as eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. The long-term effects of these conditions can have a seriously debilitating effect on an individual’s body.
Child Beauty Contests
Child beauty contests are increasingly popular, allowing parents to enter their children in competitions. Child competitors face the same disadvantages as adult competitors, but the beauty contests can also be a severe distraction in a child’s life. This includes taking time away from children that they could spend studying for school, socializing with their friends or spending time with their parents. Parental pressure can encourage students to focus more on their beauty contest responsibilities than these other activities that are important for a child’s life.
- "Beauty Pageants"; Noël Merino; 2009
Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.