23 February 2009

A Beauty Queen Dies During a Pageant, Beauty Contest is Bad for Women, A Model Hopes to win a Beauty Pageant

Russian Student Dies During Beauty Pageant - The Miss Faculty of Economy pageant in Saranak, Russia, ended tragically. One of the contestants, 20-year-old Olga Shkolina, died on stage, world agencies report.

Doctors warned the girl that her heart was weak, nevertheless, she applied for beauty pageant. Olga`s medical condition also deteriorated due to various diets and slimming pills.

The girl was keen on winning and she collapsed during her dance routine, when she wanted to display her talent. Olga`s heart simply failed. The event shocked audience members, who rushed to help the unfortunate girl. However, the young girl`s heart stopped for good. (www.javno.com)

Model hopes to win beauty pageant - A Norwich woman is raising money for charity after getting through to the national final of a beauty pageant.

Ann-Marie Woodyatt, 29, has been named Miss Norfolk Galaxy after she entered the competition organised by Galaxy Pageants UK. The blonde model and events organiser has only been modelling for three years, and has never entered a similar competition before.

She is organising a charity ball on April 7 at Dunston Hall to raise money for Sparks, the children's medical research charity. She is involved in producing a 2010 calendar to raise money for cancer research.

She said she never thought she would have any success in the first round of the competition, which was based on sending photographs to the organisers along with information about herself. She said: “To find out I had won and had been crowned Miss Norfolk is a really big deal for me. It is amazing.”

The Miss Galaxy UK final is in Manchester on March 29. If she wins, she will be flown out to Florida for a week in July to take part in the international Miss Galaxy competition.(www.eveningnews24.co.uk)

Beauty Contests: Bad for Women? The protestor - Betty Friedan stated: “men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.”

I invoke the Second Wave stereotype to announce that the Miss University of London Pageant has done contemporary feminism an enormous favour. It provides living, breathing, posing, pouting evidence for the “backlash against feminism” in our very community. The ‘Frilly Feminist’ contestants see the pageant revival as empowering.

This is the true testimony of the endeavours of Friedan and her sisters - intelligent, emancipated young women are free to choose to objectify themselves, ‘free’ to be liberated from the library and judged as the true embodiment of sexual desire.

Considering empowerment surely is about self-determination; I would ask the contestants whether they feel that the image that they present on the stage truly represents them. The women at the pageant are given a class on how to walk, how to pose, how to dress etc; who are they posing for?

I could rant about the exclusivity of ‘accepted’ beauty categories, about how empowerment is about fostering an appreciation of endless diversity (rather than the Crufts-esque eugenic cleansing currently being shunned across the board), but what I truly don’t understand is why people buy into these notions in the first place. Categories defined by a patriarchal consumerism, judged on their standards whatever these might be. It’s not the ‘standards’ themselves, even, but the very fact that we’re judged at all.

The pageant reinforces a system of oppression that says that women are only worth anything if they fit an idealised stereotype, even at university.

The parameters are totally unachievable, rendering ‘empowerment’ a mirage only to be found on airbrushed covers of fashion magazines. The desperation to fulfil this unattainable goal causes endless physical and mental health problems, such as eating disorders and depression, not to mention perpetuating a skewed image of femininity and sexuality.

We are the world leaders of tomorrow: what do we want our legacy to be? Bookstores where girls can buy Playboy stationary?

Pole-dancing kits sold to children as exercise equipment? In a society where 60 per cent of middle school girls would rather be strippers than doctors, this is a very real concern.

The pageant symbolises a backlash against feminism that is encroaching onto university territory - one of the few safe spaces where we can be on an even platform regardless of our gender, sexual definition or race. In the workspace there is still a gender pay gap. At home the woman is most vulnerable to abuse. Universities now have beauty pageants, pole dancing societies, Playboy Bunny parties, not to mention the now deemed generic ladies nights. With increasing student financial problems, more and more female students are working in lap-dancing clubs, sex phonelines, and even prostitution, to fund their studies.

Empowerment cannot be bought over a beauty counter, by embracing one’s role as an object. Empowerment is about fighting for liberation for all, so beauty and sexual liberation will come to mean real exploration and freedom of self-definition, rather than consumer catchphrases seeking to ‘uglify’ us into buying their products.

We have bigger battles to face than beauty pageants. But the only way that we can tackle these problems is by uniting against them, not judging each other on a platform.(www.london-student.net)