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Why Beauty Contests Exist


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Why Beauty Contests Exist

Beauty contests have existed historically as part of people’s way of visualizing idealized physical attractiveness qualities. Scholarly evidence shows that beauty pageants where judges use rules and criteria to select winners only happened in recent decades as people accepted new traditions and standards (Srivastava, 2020). There are idealized beauty qualities at the local, regional or international level, and these are essential parts of the criteria used to select winners in beauty contests. Initially, beauty contests were about assessment of the contestants’ physical attributes; but the focus shifted to include things such as personality traits, and talent. It implies that beauty contests remain today as they have become platforms displaying the physically attractive attributes of society, and opportunities to advance other areas of life. These areas can include acting careers or journalism.

Beauty contest winners are symbolic representations of acceptable cultural standards and hence act as platforms for cultural advancement. Studies show that today’s globalized economies promote the commodification and consumption of content related to beauty contests (Kumara & Jayawardhana, 2018). They are approaches that influence people across the globe through means such as mass media representations. Through the representations, it is possible to improve understanding of things such as race, differences of cultures. The beauty standards promoted in the contests are also essential since they help improve people’s perceptions of their body images and appearance satisfaction levels.

Beauty contests remain contentious in many societies, with supporters and opposers. Opposers might cite reasons such as objectification and promoting unrealistically idealized attributes. Yet, they continue to portray the culture, have many people who appreciate them, and help the beauty queens launch their careers. Other benefits include making people appreciate different cultures and their physical attributes. Beauty contests will continue to exist today since they continue to be essential to global capitalism and many people’s lives.


Kumara, H., I., and Jayawardhana, R., A. (2018). International beauty pageants and the

construction of hegemonic images of female beauty. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 41 (2): 123-136 DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.4038/sljss.v41i2.7699

Srivastava, S. (2020). Global production of a feminine ideal: behind the scenes of beauty

pageants. Globalism: Journal of Culture, Politics, and Innovation, 1, DOI: 10.12893/gjcpi.2020.1.4

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