Many people think that “Beauty Queens” are just brainless girls with pretty faces who happen to look good in a swimsuit. I want to tell you that this rumor is not true. Admittedly, some pageants exist in which the only thing that counts is your looks. But it takes a lot more than good looks and a nice body to take home the crowns in the more reputable pageants. I competed in the Miss America set of pageants, and I will tell you, it was tough. First of all, the Miss America organization gives out over a million dollars annually in SCHOLARSHIPS. This means that they give money to deserving women that is applied toward their pursuit of higher education. They do not simply write checks to pretty girls and tell them they can go buy clothes, shoes, make-up, or other fleeting frivolities. Second, there are several areas of competition in which contestants are scored.
One of these categories is the interview which, in the Miss America Pageant, comprises 40% of your total score. In my experience, these are tough interviews during which you are grilled about several topics ranging from current events and political issues, to personal history and opinion. You have to be able to think on your feet, be very aware of the world around you and present your opinions in a way which is both poised and charming. Another heavily weighted portion of the competition is the talent category. Successful Miss America contestants have typically spent countless hours training in their particular area of performance. You cannot just decide one day “Hey, I am pretty, I think that I will try for Miss America”. If you are not already well rehearsed in a skill that you could use to compete for talent then you may have missed the boat. Now, let us not forget the swimsuit competition.
Though opinions on this topic vary, the fact is that pageant contestants have to wear a swim suit on stage. You may think it is degrading and demeaning but you still have to admit that this demonstrates their superior physical fitness. Such fitness is a feat that is getting more and more difficult to accomplish in a country in which obesity is occurring in epidemic proportions. Finally, one of the most prevalent fears amongst Americans is that of public speaking. It is tough to get on that stage, present yourself as a package to a set of judges and hope they like you, not to mention the hundreds of onlookers. Many people in this world could not do that. I think it is time that we stop degrading these women and labeling them as “brainless beauty queens” and start recognizing them for the talented and accomplished individuals that they are.
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