beauty contest, or beauty pageant, is a competition
based mainly, though not always entirely, on the
physical beauty of its contestants, and often
incorporating personality, talent demonstration,
and question responses as judged criteria. Almost
invariably, competitions for men and women are
separate events, and those for men are not referred
to as beauty contests. Beauty contests for women
are more common, and winners are called beauty
queens. Beauty contests for men, like Mr. Universe,
are more likely to be "body building"
contests—quite unlike the traditional "beauty
contest" in which women are judged upon many
attributes both physical and otherwise. However,
in the 1990s, male "beauty contests"
began to shift focus. Instead of only considering
muscle mass, the competitions began to judge the
natural physical attributes of the contestants
as well as their physiques. These include Mr.
World and Manhunt International.
are also beauty contests for children. These events
are often controversial, particularly when children
are dressed provocatively and described in adult
terms. Long and tiring rehearsals of singing and
dancing to loud music harm the health and development
of the children-participants.
of beauty contests
symbolic kings and queens for May Day and other
festivities is an ancient custom in Europe in
which beautiful young women symbolize their nation's
virtues and other abstract ideas. The first modern
American pageant was staged by P. T. Barnum in
1854, but his beauty contest was closed down by
public protest—he previously held dog, baby,
and bird beauty contests. He substituted daguerreotypes
for judging, a practice quickly adopted by newspapers.
Newspapers held photo beauty contests for many
decades: In 1880, the first “Bathing Beauty
Pageant" took place as part of a summer festival
to promote business in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Contests became a regular part of summer beach
life, with the most elaborate contest taking place
in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where the “Fall
Frolic” attracted women from many cities
modern beauty pageant's origin is traceable to
the Miss America Pageant, which was first held
in Atlantic City in 1921, under the title "Inter-City
Beauty Contest." The Miss America Pageant
eventually included preliminary eliminations,
an evening gown competition, musical variety shows,
and judging by panel. Still, the contest was at
first shunned by middle-class society. Pageants
did not become respectable until World War II,
when "beauty queens" were recruited
to sell bonds and to entertain troops. Scholarships
and talent competitions evoked even closer scrutiny
of contestants’ morals and backgrounds.
major contests include the yearly Miss World competition
(founded by Eric Morley in 1951), Miss Universe
(founded in 1952), Miss International and Miss
Earth (founded in 2001 with environmental awareness
as its concern). These are considered the Grand
Slam pageants, the four largest and most famous
international beauty contests. Minor contests,
such as the Miss Bondi contest in Australia, are
common throughout the world in the summer months.
During the 1950s, pageants thrived to promote
county fairs and local products. For example,
some of Raquel Welch's titles included "Miss
Photogenic" and "Miss Contour."
Across the world, women from around the world
participate each year in local competitions for
the chance to represent their country's international
there has been a movement to the Internet Beauty
Pageant format demonstrated by websites such as
http://www.theultimatebeautyqueen.com, which aim
to level the pageant playing field by allowing
more variations in both contestants and judges.
The organizers of the major beauty contests represent
their contests as being events of world importance
- and they are, in that they are viewed by over
a billion people every year.
trade associations have multi-tiered beauty contests
which select queens as ceremonial representatives.
The queen may appear at official receptions to
present awards, to represent the industry in parades
and festivals, to present consumer information
to the public, or even to lobby for the industry.
For example the South Carolina Watermelon Queen
may do a tour of supermarkets with tastings of
different varieties, or the North Dakota Honey
Queen may tour to pass out recipes that feature
honey. The queens are expected to be of high attractiveness,
intelligence and character, and often gain scholarships
for their year of service to the industry.
contests attract significant controversy, particularly
for how they present women. Many feminists regard
beauty contests for women as "cattle markets",
degrading to both viewer and contestant, which
enforce society's objectification of women. Critics
have particularly objected to swimsuit rounds,
in which contestants wear only swimwear and high-heeled
shoes. In addition, the common view of "beauty"
in these pageants as represented exclusively by
unusually thin women has been questioned. In response,
Mo'Nique's Fat Chance, a beauty pageant for overweight
women, has aired on the Oxygen network since 2005.
national 'Miss' pageants have come under heavy
criticism and some have been the subjects of direct
action. High-profile complaints were made against
the Miss America contest in the late 1960s, and
contests in Finland attracted controversy for
requiring contestants to wear only lingerie, some
of which was diaphanous enough to clearly display
genitalia. Many of these contests were held in
venues where inebriated males made grossly inappropriate
comments and even sought bodily contact with the
contestants. After one contestant refused to comply,
public debate forced the organisers to abolish
this requirement. However, the lingerie shows
were reintroduced in 2007 -- initially with contestants
wearing black bodysuits underneath the lingerie,
but this was strongly disfavoured by those involved,
and shows now compromise by having revealing daytime
shows but using bodysuits for night shows, at
which audiences are more often drunk and unruly.
regularly attract demonstrators, particularly
if they violate local religious or cultural practices.
In Nigeria, for example, many Muslims viewed Western-style
beauty contests as immoral, because the female
participants are typically not dressed modestly.
In 2002, the journalist Isioma Daniel wrote an
article criticising Nigerian Muslims for their
objections to the 2002 Miss World contest, which
was to be held in Nigeria, and suggesting that
the prophet Mohammed would not have objected to
the contest, and "would probably have chosen
a wife from one of them". Public rioting
in response to this article killed 200 people,
and a fatwa was issued against Daniel. Consequently,
the event was relocated to London.
the murder of JonBenét Ramsey in 1996,
concerns have been raised about the propriety
of beauty pageants for children, and the psychological
effects they may have on young contestants. Critics
see the "Little Miss..." genre as a
possible lure for pedophiles, although there is
little documented evidence of this. In reaction,
there has been a surge in more age-appropriate
pageants for children, without provocative costumes,
flashy décor, and heavy makeup. HBO aired
a documentary about child beauty pageants titled
Living Dolls: The Making of a Child Beauty Queen
in 2001, which won an Emmy.
because of this criticism, beauty contests have
declined in popularity in the Western world since
the 1960s -- for example, the Miss New Zealand
pageant is no longer televised, as public interest
in it is too low. However, in some areas in which
beauty contests were long discouraged, such as
Eastern Europe and parts of Asia and Africa, they
have flourished since the 1980s as restrictions
a "beauty queen"
pageants are generally multi-tiered, with local
competitions feeding into the larger competitions.
The worldwide pageants, thus, require hundreds,
sometimes thousands, of local competitions. In
the United States, there is now a commercial beauty
pageant industry that organizes thousands of local
and regional events for all ages for profit supported
by magazines like The Crown Magazine and Pride
of Pageantry, the online epiczine.com, the Pageant
News Bureau (pageant.com), and The Crown Magazine,
and a host of retailers of everything from tiaras
to cosmetic surgery.
typical perception of a beauty pageant is that
it occurs once a year, has women of a petite frame,
the event is live on stage, and that a talent
is involved somehow. Particularly with the advent
of the internet, this perception has changed drastically.
Although they are not "live" internet
and mail-in pageants have provided a plethora
of entertainment to those who compete and an opportunity
not available those unable or hesitant to travel.
Queens, or title holders, are chosen on many criteria.
Each individual pageant will provide to prospective
delegates its particular methods of competition
and scoring. For example, The Worldwide Pageant
has a unique scoring system wherein delegates
have the potential of earning a score of 110%.
The breakdown is 25% evening wear (may be pants
or gown), 25% athletic wear, 50% personal interview,
and an optional 10% for an achievement portfolio.
Diamond Dolls is a photogenic only competition
which provides 100% of the score based upon submission
of required photos.
no longer is a limiting factor as many competitions
espouse the goal of "natural" beauty.
There are also more and more pageants such as
Ms. Classic Beauty, who are dedicated to the "plus
sized" delegate. Ms. Classic Beauty takes
this one step further by devoting itself to "pageant
plus." While a size 14-16 may be considered
a traditional plus-size in the US, in the pageant
world a size 6-8 may be considered as plus depending
upon the pageant system. Ms. Classic Beauty takes
this into consideration as well as the difference
in size based upon height. Therefore, their criteria
for inclusion is based upon size/ height ratios.
the selection of a Beauty Queen is thought to
be an annual event, there are no hard and fast
rules as to the frequency of selection. Pageants
have also changed dates and frequency based upon
the needs of the Organization. Take for instance,
Miss America. For decades, Miss America was held
during the fall with the pageant usually occurring
in September. Recently, the date changed to January.
This produced a term of greater than a year length
for that Miss America.
the other hand, some terms have been shortened
due to needs of the Organization. For example,
during its formative years, the Mrs. United Nation
Pageant had several seasonal changes with some
Queens holding a term of less than a year.
are other pageants who take a totally different
approach altogether. Particularly in reference
to on-line photogenic pageants, there are competitions
in which a winner is chosen on a monthly or even
weekly basis. There are those who will take each
of these as a "preliminary winner" with
the intent upon a "final" competition
at some later date. Others treat each of these
as a "final" winner and provide a title.
of the method of competition, break down of scores
or frequency of selection, all are defined as
"entertainment in the form of a beauty pageant."
It is up to the individual to determine which
is best suited for competition or of particular
entertainment interest. (Credit:
Search For Diana Goddess Of Moon and Hunting
Houssami has returned from Poland where she was competing
in Miss World.
Sabrina Houssami was placed 3rd in Miss World
2006. Congratulations Sabrina.
thank you to Sabrina Houssami
(Miss World Australia) and Lauryn
Eagle (Miss Teen Australia) for attending the
event on the Gold Coast
Man Australia appearances
World Australia - Miss Asia Pacific homecoming for
Sabrina Houssami - Ruby Rabbit, Sydney - 11th October
2006 (interview and publicity photo)
Teen Australia 2006, Sydney - 30th September 2006
Search For Diana Goddess Of Moon and Hunting - 10th
November 2006 (media and judge)
Girl Next Door - 2006
World Australia - 4th April 2007 (media)
Man Australia media comment and pitches includes:
The Age, 2SM, New FM, Network Nine Australia (A
Current Affair), Cleo, Cosmo, Woman's Weekly,
The Daily Telegraph and B&T