Are beauty pageants worth it?

And there she is, walking on air she is, fairest of fair she is, there she is, our Miss World…
Many young girls are dreaming to foresee this in their future, the crowd cheering her as she keeps her head high and accepts the crown that has been by generations bestowed upon the girl who is deemed as “the most beautiful girl with a charismatic attitude and an undeniable elegance”.
Beauty pageants have been around for quite a long time (and apparently, will be there for a longer time). Its purpose is to crown “The most beautiful girl”. The girls and women in these pageants are dressed up in fake hair, fake nails, and even fake breasts. They’re told to perform on stage like a trained seal so that they can be judged on their superficial talents.
The problem is that only one girl can be crowned “most beautiful”. So the question that arises is ,” What about the other girls? Were they not deserving enough? Is the opinion of only a panel of about ten judges the criteria on which a girl’s beauty can be judged? Is beauty only superficial? Isn’t is skin deep? Doesn’t our personality count for something? ”As flawless as these girls maybe, they have been taught that the only opinion that matters is The Final Decision. Whenever a girl loses a pageant, her self confidence and self esteem shoots an all time low and despite the loving support of her family, she succumbs to anxiety or depression or other psychological hazard.
Talk to a 7 year old girl, she will tell you more about Victoria Secret than about her own country. Ask her what she prefers reading and she will reply Bombay Times or DNA After Hrs. Girls as young as these are glued to their television whenever such shows are casted because they feel that this field is fancy, the winners have an awesome life and they are in awe of the fame that accompanies it. They have no clue that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Not only does it teach young girls that beauty is external but it sends a message that every female should be less than 115 pounds, with blonde hair, blue eyes and big busts. Also the women in the beauty pageants always feel pressured to look thin, and they seek those results by doing extremely dangerous things such as starving themselves, binge eating and increasing self hate as well as low self esteem.
The major cause that these models concern themselves with is helping the poor and needy. From eating foods that won’t make her gain weight, to spending hours in the gym, it’s kind of hard to help the homeless when she’s concentrating on trying to fit into a size 2 swimsuit.
While there are many women suffering with issues on body image and self esteem due to exposure to thin-ideal images, these pageants parade women with smooth, spectacular, skinny bodies. Ironically, it comes as no surprise that more than a quarter of women who joined beauty pageants are found to be likely suffering from an eating disorder.
I could go on at a greater length about the absurdities of beauty pageants, but I think I’ve already made my point: Women (or even men) are so much more than their appearance; they have brains and personalities. We should remain comfortable in our own skin irrespective of what standards the society has set to define the term. Young girls should feel more empowered when they are knowledgeable about life and things that will actually matter when trying to get a job, career or providing for themselves and families. Wearing a tiara doesn’t make you a princess or queen. Knowing you are beautiful without one does.

-Drashti Shah