The ‘Heights’ of Beauty Pageants!

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. “ ~ Confucius

I was watching the Miss World 2011 event some days back, and while I was watching it a thought struck me – Why do these beauty pageants limit beauty to height, weight and looks?

Take a look through the years of the beauty pageants, be they city-centric, state-centric, nation-centric or world-centric – all of them seem to endorse the view that tall, slim and good-looking women define beauty. What about the rest of the women? Aren’t short, stout, plump and natural looking women, not beautiful?

I have so many girl pals who are short, plump, pleasant looking with a good amount of sense and logic in them. To me, they are beautiful! And seriously, why do you need to judge or classify ‘beauty’? How can a panel of ‘experts’ in various fields be appointed to even rate beauty? What is beautiful for one, may not be beautiful to another! It is a very subjective matter.

All of this started in Greece. As far as it can be traced to, the first beauty pageant had a Parisian judge who the fairest among Juno, Minerva and Venus.  Of course, this beauty pageant was the crux to the whole tale of Helen of Sparta and the Trojan War. Even then, this first pageant was to determine who was the most beautiful (physically).

However, even though it was based on physical beauty, at least it didn’t have any limitations on what physical beauty consisted of. It was an open affair and didn’t base beauty on height, weight and shape.

Over the years, I have heard of pageants that celebrate women being plump, overweight and having natural looks. It is a good initiative in a way, though it does make me wonder why we need these ‘separate’ labelled pageants. All of us are beautiful in our own ways – just because someone is fat, doesn’t mean that they are less pretty. I agree that the current beauty pageants also look out for personality, charm, grace and poise, but why is it limited to only tall-thin people? Why aren’t the rest of the women included in this celebration of beauty?

I feel that the whole idea of a ‘beauty pageant’ has been interpreted wrongly. Whether the pageant is for thin, tall people, or fat, short people – people seem to be celebrating the ‘size’ and ‘figure’ of a person rather than the person themselves. How many of you have seen a criteria for a beauty pageant that included ‘healthy spirit’, ‘benevolent’, ‘compassionate’ and ‘dignified’ in the announcements instead of ‘above 5’8’ and ‘good-looking’? And even if you ‘haven’t’ come across the latter specifications, how many plump women have been chosen in premier Beauty Pageants? How many short women have been chosen in the pageants? If beauty is all encompassing, shouldn’t women be chosen no matter what their size or shape is?

The beauty pageants are primarily a source of entertainment and opportunity. Entertainment for the viewers, opportunity for the winners to bring about a good change in society. Though it beats me why only thin, tall, good-looking people are chosen to help needy people – and the rest are left out of it! Of course, the age old idea of a pretty face being more effective with the audience might be the number one reason for the whole program. But, the pageant organisers are forgetting one important thing – exterior beauty alone doesn’t help, beauty needs to come from inside – and anyone, of any shape and size can be beautiful from within.

Anne Bronte put it rather well when she said – “It is foolish to wish for beauty. Sensible people never either desire it for themselves or care about it in others. If the mind be but well cultivated, and the heart well disposed, no one ever cares for the exterior.”


She is a happy-go-lucky lady, who goes with the flow of life as it courses through high, rough terrain to soothing plains. Forever a learner, an eternal optimist [who whines now and then] but she gets back on her feet before you can say ‘Yikes!’ She is a true believer of the motto – “Whatever happens, happens for good.”