I love beauty pageants. I don’t know if it’s a family thing — (the guy at the back [left side] is my uncle haha) or if it’s because it used to be a dream or because a lot of relatives wanted me to join (I’m too short so it’s never going to happen) but I really love beauty pageants.
My love for beauty pageants was tested when I entered college. I took up Broadcast Communications at UP Diliman and some of the professors saw beauty pageants as the patriarchy’s way of objectifying women. Sure, that’s a possible way to look at it since Donald Trump used to own the franchise (Miss Universe, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA). But I believe that it’s all a matter of perspective. You can view it as a beauty market or a way for men to objectify women but I see it as something that can empower women to be confident.
This year’s Miss Universe made sure that it showcased both the beauty and brains of the different contestants by giving them time to discuss current events, stereotypes (both for men and women), their professions (some were dentists, lawyers, and someone was even part of the military), body image, politics, and a lot of other relevant topics that proved that they’re more than just pretty faces.
The winners were also chosen based on the validity of their answers during the Q&A portion and not just because they were popular during the entire run of the pageant. The questions were more relevant and politically driven and the answers were more intelligent and well thought of (for some).
This new version of Miss Universe can change the way people see beauty pageants and I hope that they do. Because I think how you view pageants can reflect on how you view “beautiful women.” If it’s only their physical beauty that you see and not how their goal is to empower other women to be smart and to be confident and to love themselves, then maybe you’re the problem, not the pageant.