Are Beauty Pageants All ‘Indecent’?

Posted by: apyakurel

Habitually, as in past, this year’s Miss Nepal pageant yet again faced shrill protests from some ‘pro-women’ groups and leftist party advocates. The women outside the pageant hall were loudly shouting that the ‘right’ of women was being dashed as the participants are ‘objectified’ in such events. However, the instance looked rather ironical, as non other than the ‘women’ who were participating in the pageant seemed to abide by …

a common sentiment, i.e. ‘indeed, this is our right whether or not to participate.’ Several questionnaires swivel around my head as I usually get concerned about such stringent objection towards the women’s beauty pageants, unlike of men. Why the so-called women’s rights activists and leftist parties or their believed advocates sense such insecurity about the beauty pageants, as if the participating women were forcibly thrown into the hole of evil? Can’t the participating women independently evaluate whether the event is good or bad for them? Should they have to be dictated regarding their perception and their autonomous decision, as if they are an immature kid? Isn’t that the participating women’s, their parents’, or their other closed ones’ wish and approval has let them to participate in the event? Moreover, are beauty pageants uglier than the daily discriminatory plight implied against many women in our society? While the dissenters argue that the women participating in such events are ‘exploited’ by the organizers, I wonder how such judgment is justified, as it sounds that the women are forcibly taken to the event, made to ‘peel off’ their clothes, and presented as ‘advertising objects’ to upgrade the product of the sponsors. Doesn’t it sound that, instead of the organizers, the dissenters having such remarks are actually viewing the participants as the ‘objects’ who don’t have their sovereign feeling or decision? One of my friends who is a student but sympathizes the voice against such events, earnestly stated that if there is some leftist party, like Maoists, ruling the government then they would have stopped such events at all. I wonder whether totally calling down such events would respect women’s right or the individuals’ independent right to think and act the way he/she likes. Another basis for such condemnation is the ‘vulgarity’ due to the ‘scanty’ dresses worn by the participants. Firstly, like beauty, vulgarity may lie in the eyes of beholders, unlike in dresses of the participants. By appreciating the physical beauty of woman in a revealing dress, one may not diminish his/her reverence towards her; neither would it mean to ‘objectify’ her. I often peer into my own insight, as what actually abolish the dignity of a woman. Is it her dress, or her entire attitude, acumen, or her way of conduct? If mere lessening of clothes taint the dignity of a woman, then many prominent women in the European or Western showbiz would have already tarnished their dignity, as they have not only scantily dressed, but appeared nude in many instances. Despite this, they are just as admired and respected by the audience, nationally and internationally. Their talent, creativity, and extraordinary capacity to win over the hearts of millions of audience seem to have gulped down the ‘nuisance’ out of the ‘vulgar’ skin shows. Moreover, what length or breadth of a dress shall determine “indecency”? If it’s absolutely fine to wear a minute two piece bikini in Europe, it’s a taboo even to show your face in some insistent Muslim societies. So, regarding what universal acceptation the indecency of a dress could be judged? Yes, we can readily attach our cultural perception for calling a dress ‘indecent’ because it exposes ‘too much’ of flesh. But isn’t any culture a human made and is susceptible for change, as our societal perception is also gradually changing by time? Human perception and desires can’t be confined within a geographical or cultural boundary in the new age of globalization. Certainly, the outer beauty shouldn’t be the only criteria to win the crown. But it’s not bad to dig into the talent of a woman and explore her potential to the outside world, neither would it be indecent to express one’s good abilities and beauty and contest them in an aesthetic and intellectual platform. Such competition could facilitate the polishing of one’s persona regarding his/her intelligence, capabilities, and appearance too. Unlike the stubborn and inadequately justified voices calling to ‘shut down’ the beauty pageants, it would draw more meaning to question the overall legitimacy of the pageants in terms of their capability on correctly assessing the contestants’ overall persona. It’s worth evaluating whether the selection process is aesthetically watchful, intelligent, and fair. It would also be worth to overhaul (if necessary) the process of assessment, while simultaneously taking regard of enriching the contestants’ eminence. Likewise, the business motive of the organizers behind such events isn’t unnatural, neither it’s objectionable, as without sponsors no program can run. However, it shouldn’t be only about business but also about the fair competition and fair valuation of the participants. But, calling for the event to close down altogether doesn’t sound sensitive, nor it sounds ethical in terms of democratic and independent aspiration of somebody. It also sounds like directly attacking on the democratic rights of others, like the right to make independent decision without being threatened. Certainly, the women’s beauty pageants would have high credibility if the winners, who attain a public image, are encouraged to highlight and work on several discriminatory plights implied toward many women in our country, like dowry issues, accusation of witch, discrimination based on patriarchal oppression, or many forms of domestic violence. The praise and meaning for such contests would substantially rise if the competition is not confined within the pageant hall or to the span of a momentary period but the ‘talented’ winners are eventually encouraged to work for the good of the society and nation.

Are Beauty Pageants All ‘Indecent’? was last modified: September 11th, 2013 by apyakurel

Blog Comments

  1. Amit Pyakurel

    Dear administrator,

    Thank you for publishing this article of mine (Are beauty pageants all “indecent”?).

    But, may be I should have a little concern over here.

    I don’t understand why you have put only the name “Amit” instead of my real name “Amit Pyakurel.” One of my previous article has also been published on this site with my actual name “Amit Pyakurel.” But my name only shows that article I have got published on your site is only one till date, whereas it’s two.

    May be there had been some mistake. Could you please kindly have a look what had happened.

    Thank you so much,

    Yours sincerely,
    Amit Pyakurel

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