As early as 19th century, beauty pageants have taken over society for ambiguous reasons which we are all trying to find the answers to. As far as the facts of the matter are concerned, beauty pageants were a way to explore talent and beauty in women which, I am guessing, was a way of representing a certain kind of state to show the world that one of their most valuable ‘assets’ were it’s beautiful and skillful people.
India has this, if we can call it that, an unhealthy obsession with beauty pageants which in turn are giving rise to body image issues, complexion worries or even how women see themselves as individuals in society. If there was a way to stop it, it would already be done. But the following Facebook post by Campus Princess, a property of the Times group, proves just how hard they are willing to push young girls into thinking something they can be, but are not. The truth is always bitter.
Some graciously willing members of the Indian fashion and film industry had some pretty strong disagreements with this kind of a marketing campaign for a beauty pageant, and so did thousands of other people on the internet.
Surabhi Rao/Model/Miss Divine Thought/Top 20/Femina Miss India 2011
By the looks of the campaign, this pageant seems to be calling aims for ‘near-perfect’ girls which is clearly a wrong notion. What’s shocking and rude is publicly stating unrealistic terms and conditions. It is a common aspiration for so many girls to become Miss India right from when they try on their mother’s lipstick and walk buckle-kneed in their high heels as 5 year olds. What these little girls don’t realize is that they can’t know what they look like when they grow up.
When I applied for Miss India, their simple hook was ‘Do you have it in you?’ That makes you wonder about both the self-assessment and reflection of personality and also your gifted physical beauty. After all, its the combination of beauty and brawn.
Pooja Bhamrah/Actor and Model/Winner/Miss Queen of India 2011
Its shameful that beauty pageants in past 2-3 years are mere competitions between young enterprising women wherein physical attributes have become the only deciding factor of someone’s beauty. The fusion on intelligence and allure is being side tracked too much too often. As much as its important to look presentable, its contests like these that completely underestimate the importance of grey cells and hence compromise on our sense of self-worth.
Having got through a similar beauty pageant as the one above, I was pleased to see that the contestants weren’t solely judged based off our looks but also our code of conduct, our speech among many other attributes, which were all taken into consideration. Without any hesitation, I will admit that there were other prettier girls there. However, the physicality will only do so much and beyond a certain level, what’s ‘within’ is what will matter more than what’s on the outside.
What I love about these girls is that they might be hot regulars on the Fashion Week ramps, but they are also intelligent, its intimidating, really. Surabhi has an Msc in Biochemistry along with a Post Graduate Diploma in Family Managed Business, whereas Pooja is a bombshell with a B-tech in Biotechnology. I wasn’t kidding when I said they are a tad bit intimidating!
So what prompted the Times Group to take such desperate measures in order to recruit young girls for a pageants which is obviously tailored for Barbie-like bodies and also does not mention anywhere about wit and intellect?