Beauty pageants are a tricky subject. We see arguments for both, with one side declaring that pageants objectify and wrongly judge women on how beautiful they may be, with the other side recognising the attempts to redefine pageants to empower women.
In response to a lot of the criticism, we see statements that beauty pageants have changed, and become more about how women can help the community, environment and society they live in. But there is a gaping hole in this ‘feminist’ argument. Where are the men? Don’t men have the same responsibility to their surroundings? If women are held accountable for these things, shouldn’t men be judged in the same way?
The platform of pageants are weighted, and this cannot really be ignored. Beauty pageants are associated with judgement, stereotypes, body shaming, upholding certain beauty standards and so many more problematic issues. There may be better ways to empower women.
Despite of all these problems, we cannot avoid the fact that policing women’s decisions is, at the end of it all, unfeminist. The right to choose their own platform and utilise their strengths in such areas to further their future prospects is their own to make of what they will.
Women like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta and Sushmita Sen have all participated in these pageants and have become for many women over the world feminist icons in their own right.
We caught up with Miss Middlesex and Miss England Finalist Anusha Sareen to get her thoughts on being part of the pageant world.
By Riya Rana