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Why should the U.S. ban beauty pageants?

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amazona0125 | (Level 3) Honors

Posted November 8, 2009 at 12:20 AM via web

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Why should the U.S. ban beauty pageants?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 8, 2009 at 5:08 AM (Answer #2)

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Several reasons  can be given in defense of banning beauty contests.  The strongest reason I could see is that such contests reduce women to defining success according to characteristics of physical beauty.  Simply put, women who are not deemed as "pretty" do not win such contests.  This means that women are reduced to one physical set of characteristics in order to be successful.  Such a notion makes it easier to place these types of burdens on women, in general.  Additionally, the concept of a beauty pageant is a very Westernized one.  The only way a woman wins a beauty pageant is through participation in the swimsuit competition, which might be forbidden by Eastern cultures.  I would also presume that the objectification of women is easier to do with beauty pageants.  The examination of women as meeting certain criteria that define beauty removes much in the way of human uniqueness and distinction.  Rather, it is based on smiles, physical poise, and appearance.  In my mind, banning beauty pageants would also make sense because the notion of beauty is created as an idyllic form.  This is almost impossible to reach for women, and causes a great deal of personal harm to oneself as individuals seek to achieve an unattainable ideal of beauty.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 8, 2009 at 6:58 AM (Answer #3)

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I assume that you are preparing for a debate...

I can't really add to what the previous post says in defense of banning beauty pageants.  But if you are doing a debate, you may want to anticipate arguments against your point so that you can rebut them.

The previous post argues from a feminist perspective that beauty pageants are demeaning and that they objectify women.  This is similar to feminist arguments about why pornography should be banned.

If you said that in a debate, and I were arguing against you, I'd say that it's not very empowering to women to have laws that are meant to protect them.  Making laws against beauty pageants would be like telling women "this is bad for you, but we know you're too stupid to realize it or too weak to resist, so we're banning them."  It would be like banning chocolate so I can't overeat and get fat.

Also, if you're going to ban everything that objectifies women, you've got a lot of stuff to ban.  If I were debating against you I'd use that point too -- if banning beauty pageants is right then what else?  Beer ads?  Cosmo and magazines like that?  Cheerleading?

Again, the previous post has good points for your side.  I'm just trying to give you thoughts about what the other side might say.

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readerofbooks | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 11, 2009 at 5:56 AM (Answer #4)

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Here are a few more perspectives.

1. Beauty pageants not only objectify women, but also put the women under the viewing pleasure and perspective of men. In this sense, it is "pornographic." It can also be demeaning.

2. In addition, through things like this, one is able to set the tone for what beauty is. It creates an unattainable goal and it is not realistic to life. And think of what it can do to body image for young girls.

3. Similar to point 2, you might be able to make a connection to health dangers that are associated with body image as well. Do pageants cause self-loathing in some people?

4. Finally, beauty is a social category and may promote only a certain type of beauty, which can be very provincial.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted November 14, 2009 at 8:13 PM (Answer #5)

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If participants choose to involve themselves in beauty pageants, why does anyone else insist that they not? Are the participants doing anything illegal?  Are they violating anyone else's rights by participating? Banning any human activity does not eliminate the activity; it merely moves it underground and makes it illegal.  There are many who may find pageants offensive for whatever reasons; that is not justification for passing a law to ban them.  In fact, doing so would be denying freedom from those who choose to participate. If you don't like beauty pageants, don't be in one, and don't watch one.

 

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