Beauty Pageants or Female Empowerment?

A women’s rights movement in England has been stirred up by the Miss World Competition. Feminists and other women’s rights groups are insistent on petitioning the Miss World Competition which is set to take place in London, England this year. So does this mean that these women are indirectly against beauty, wit, and charity? Well, maybe against a competition based solely on beauty, but winner of Miss England 2008, Laura Coleman, and Miss England director, Angie Beasley disagree with the competition being exclusively a “beauty pageant.”  The two pro-pageant women are in agreement of the pageant more so empowering women, as the platform for the competition covers much more than appearance.

Laura Coleman, the 2008 Miss England winner has made statements concerning the matter saying, “Appreciating beauty should not cause anger. Women enter beauty pageants at their own will, they are not forced into it. I don’t understand why feminists think it is degrading, as pageants are actually empowering women. Ask any of the contestants…Pageants give the girls confidence and give them opportunities they may not otherwise have had and I can speak from experience. I don’t think the protesters understand that Miss World do many amazing things, including raising millions for Beauty With A Purpose, every year.”

The opposing side, the feminists have made their statement via the London Feminist Network website, saying: “Forty years ago feminists disrupted this sexist contest in a spectacular fashion, with chants of ‘we’re not beautiful, we’re not ugly, we’re angry…Let the organisers and all those profiting from the event know that we are all angry that such an event is once again being held here in London, 40 years later. Bring placards, banners and raise your voice against this appalling offence against women’s equality. Let them know loud and clear that this event has no place in London in 2011.”

Due to Miss Coleman’s belief in the empowerment of women through this forum she has urged these feminists’ protesters to stay home and not attend the event, especially with an angered temper.

The pageants’ director, Angie Beasley had something to say (to the protesters) as well, “I’m all for women standing up for what they believe in which is why I run Miss England but I’m fed up of these protesters trying to bully us and push us around. We live in a free society where women have the right to choose. The contestants in Miss World are quite capable of making up their own minds if they want to enter or not and protesters shouldn’t keep criticising the same
decision. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.”

So what’s your opinion? The women participating in the pageant are doing so on their own free will and is also putting herself in the position to win awards, money/scholarships, and the opportunity to assist in charity work. On paper this opportunity sounds like a once in a lifetime one and if a feminist biggest worry is for equal rights and the right to choose, this forum seems to be exceptional as well as 100% optional. And as far as the swimsuit section goes, Ms. Beasley was quoted saying the pageant “had changed with the times and was no longer just about looking good in swimwear.” Also, looking back to past beauty pageants, a certain contestant made quite the fool of herself during an interview question which essentially took her out of the running, all beauty and appearance aside. Therefore, in my mind I see nothing wrong with a competition awarding women for beauty, brains, and talent.

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