Women in beauty contests are judged on their physical appearance rather than on any other qualities they may possess (the existence of a ‘talent’ element in many such contests is all very well, but ugly women simply aren’t going to win).
Judging women, but not men, primarily on their looks contributes to the subjugation of women because other qualities, such as intelligence, are not seen as part of ideal femininity and therefore not as things to which women should aspire.
Ideal masculinity, while in itself potentially damaging to men, tends to be construed in much wider and less restrictive terms - it is notable that male beauty contests, judging men on their physical appearance, are much less popular than female ones.
Beauty contests, like sport, can be an important focus of national or regional pride.
Despite the declining popularity of competitions such as Miss World in the UK, they hold an important cultural place in many parts of the world.
The victories in recent years of Miss India, Miss Turkey and Miss Nigeria in Miss World competitions made many Indians, Turks and Nigerians proud, and were seen as symbolic of those countries’ progress in competing with more powerful countries on their own terms.
The image of female beauty promoted by beauty contests is culturally specific and western - it doesn’t matter how many Asian women win Miss World, they can still only do so if they take part in the swimsuit competition, which may well not be considered appropriate dress in their culture.
There were demonstrations against Miss World by feminists and Hindu nationalists when it was held in Bangalore in 1996.
Riots in Kaduna in northern Nigeria over Miss World 2002 left more than 200 dead and led to the contest being moved to London.
In an environment where women are valued on solely on their appearance, and in which there are more opportunities for men, beauty contests give women an opportunity to improve their situations.
Note that there are difficult technical issues about running this debate: it probably works best as a values debate on whether beauty contests are a good thing or not, but this kind of comparison motion is frowned upon in some policy-based debating circles.
), which would tend to undermine the point of the debate.
Naomi Wolf: "in terms of how we feel about ourselves physically, we may actually be worse off than our unliberated grandmothers." Why?
Because of how "cruelly images of female beauty have come to weigh upon us." There is nothing wrong with judging people primarily on their physical prowess - we do this all the time in competitive sport, where fitness and strength are major determinants of success.
Every competition, of every kind, values certain qualities over others - we recognise that being able to lift heavy weights isn’t the prime definition of human worth, but we can still give prizes for weightlifting; similarly, we can give a prize to a beautiful woman for her beauty without implying that beauty is all that matters about anyone.
Winning a beauty contest can be a a first step toward a successful life later in the future.
Many Hollywood actresses are former beauty queens, and they would not have reached their success without the beauty contests they won.
In addition, the winners of high-profile beauty contests are able to publicize charities and causes they feel strongly about - they have a public platform they could not otherwise have gained.
Beauty contests fail to challenge harmful political attitudes to women.
Despite paying lip-service to feminist keywords such as empowerment and self-confidence, they do nothing concrete to aid the liberation of women; indeed, by reinforcing looks as the most important feminine quality, they harm women’s liberation in general.
Beauty pageants can cause depression, and depression may later lead to a suicide Children shouldn't be forced to be in pageants.
Mothers try to live their dream through their children.
Children shouldn't get their lives taken away from them.
They only get one childhood, they don't get it back after it's over.
Any parent placing their child in these types of pageants, based solely on looks, is giving their child the attitude that appearance can get you anywhere in life.
Child beauty pageants should be banned because they cause children, especially little girls, to use artificial means to boost their self esteem.
People were not born with makeup, spray tans, big hair, and false teeth. They make children believe they have to wear make-up, jewelry, wigs, fake nails, and other acessories to be beautiful. Their beauty is natural and they shouldn't have to have anyone's opinion on the way they look.
Beauty pageants can also cause serious mental and health issues.
They can lead to depression, anorexia, suicide, and many other serious issues.
Children might starve themselves to lose which could lead to eating disorders.
It is wrong to teach children that looks are the most important asset to possess.