We don’t know if you know, but recently there’s been some kind of hoo-haa surrounding the Miss Hong Kong 2019 beauty pageant. Apparently, many of the contestant-hopefuls were not up to scratch, and netizens were quick to comment on their bad fashion choices and poor makeup skills among other things. It’s the 21st century, and while we’re all “be yourself”, we’re also still quick to judge. As its name suggests, beauty pageants are supposed to feature beauties, but beauty is subjective, and it’s no secret that contestants have gone to extreme measures to fit in. Which then brings us to the question: are beauty pageants more useful or harmful?
History of Beauty Pageants
Beauty pageants date back to the European medieval era; good to know beauty was appreciated even back then. When the 1880s rolled around, beauty contests spiked in popularity, but were not considered respectable. It wasn’t until 1921 when the first modern “Miss America” contest was held that beauty pageants gained more status. “Miss America” no longer identifies as a pageant, but a competition instead.
What is Beauty?
As we all know, beauty is very subjective, so how are contestants judged? Traditionally, beauty pageants focus on physical attributes of the contestants. However, in recent years, they have evolved to include personality traits, intelligence, talent and answers to judges’ questions as criteria as well. Most pageants include a swimsuit and evening gown segment, though some have scrapped these segments due to claims of “objectification”. The question of “what is beauty?” remains, and why the contestant-hopefuls of Miss Hong Kong 2019 were mocked.
The Great Beauty Debate
It is undeniable that beauty queens can be a major source of confidence and inspiration, watching them own it on stage. However, with this comes a downside. Girls watching may feel pressured to look exactly like the contestants, perhaps even going to extreme lengths to conform to conventional beauty standards. It’s one thing to be well-groomed and presentable yet confident in your own skin, but it’s a different thing altogether to transform yourself into something you’re not, especially in harmful ways. Judging someone based on physical features alone can also be superficial, but it’s great that other aspects are taken into account by now. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, no?
A contest must have rules and regulations to work, but perhaps it’s time for a great revision. Many former contestants of beauty pageants have stated that it is a good opportunity to gain confidence and improve several skills, and it works wonders for empowerment as they potentially go on to represent their community or country. We’re all for it, but beauty is only skin deep. If beauty queens are to bring about changes, they need to back it up with what’s within them as well. After all, grooming skills can be polished! What’s your take on this? Do you think beauty pageants are relevant? Can they be improved? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!