Real Talk: Beauty Pageants

At this time in history, women are doing amazing things. At the college level, women continue to outnumber men, at 56% of enrollment. In the business world, women hold 5% of the Fortune 500 CEO positions which is a number that continues to grow. And in Congress, women hold 99 or 18.5% of the seats with 79 women in the House of Representatives and 20 women in the Senate.

And yet, just last week a televised program aired that judges women based almost solely on their looks.

I’ll admit that I used to watch the Miss America and Miss USA pageants because I liked seeing the dresses and watching the interview questions. But how is it, that in this day and age where women are making leaps and bounds in society, we still have this type of National competition? For the ladies competing, 20% of their score is based on them parading down the runway in evening wear and another 20% is made up of the swimsuit portion. The time of the evening when women are asked to put on similar versions of the same swimsuit, walk the runway in heels and then stand next to each other while their bodies are judged by a group of men and women. When you break it down like that, the whole idea feels a little crazy and a lot archaic.

If you read my last Real Talk post, you know I discussed the great female-empowerment type of commercials that have been going around and yet, they are the direct opposite of these beauty pageants. Let’s face it, most women critique and criticize their bodies on a daily basis and if you decide to go into pageants, you have the unique “opportunity” of standing in front of a group of judges and letting them do that for you. There is just something so wrong with this! It also doesn’t help that the contestants all look very similar with what the media says is the ideal body type right now. And yet in pageantry, they get away with this by calling it “lifestyle and fitness”. This purports the idea that this specific body type is the only way a woman would look if she cares about her body and yet, there are so many women out there who eat healthy and exercise regularly but don’t look like the ladies walking the runway.

I think that one of the reasons that Miss America has made its way into the 21st century is by saying that they are the largest scholarship organization for women. There is a great video now circulating from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver‘s examination of the scholarship portion of the Miss America pageant that you can watch below. I won’t recap it all but I will point out two things that stood out to me. First, the Miss America pageant claims that it gives out $45 million in scholarships to women annually. This is a huge number and John Oliver’s team investigated it and found that in 2012, at the National level, Miss America only gave $482,000 in scholarships! If you start to include regional scholarships, the most they could come up with was $4 million in scholarships! The video below explains the disparity in the numbers but it’s really quite shocking.

And it gets worse. Although that number is grossly misrepresented, Miss America really is the largest scholarship provider to women. Apparently the other female-only based scholarships don’t even come close! And that just makes me sad. Sad that we live in a world where the “best” way to get a women’s scholarship, is to be judged on your appearance! Women have come such a long way since the Miss America pageant was started in 1921 and yet we still have televised programs where we compare women. It just feels like pageants and the like are setting women back and ignoring our brains and focusing on our bodies. Let’s change that. Let’s show the world the positive influence that women can have on every facet of society and that we have so much more to offer then just a pretty face.

Question:

-What are your thoughts on beauty pageants?

Take 5 Friday

Hi lovelies! Happy Friday! Sorry I didn’t post yesterday, I came home late Wednesday night and was just too exhausted to write a post. I hope you all have had a great week! Mine has been so busy that it has flown by and all of the sudden it’s the weekend again… love when that happens! Tonight I’m going to an event with some girlfriends and tomorrow an event with my Grandma… details and pictures to follow!

Now let’s move on to Take 5 Friday: my bi-monthly list of 5 things that you can do to make a difference that will take you less than 5 minutes!

1. Join the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem!

Remember that amazing campaign Dove did a few years ago to campaign for real beauty? Recently, they have launched a new movement for self-esteem to provide women everywhere with opportunities to mentor the next generation and celebrate real beauty. They also recently released findings from the largest global study on women’s relationship with beauty and found that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful and that anxiety about looks begins at a very early age. It’s time to change this for all the women in our life! Start by browsing the Inspire a Girl Tool-kit for ideas or simply sign up to join the movement and be updated on the great things that Dove is doing!

2. Write a Note to a Teacher!

We all have a teacher who made an impact on our lives, whether it be big or small. Sometimes the lessons they teach us that make the most difference are the ones that they never get to hear about. Like one of my college professors who took the time to email me back late at night when I was going through a difficult time with medical issues and was worried about missing class. I think that teachers are so underappreciated but this campaign is striving to change that! With Thanks For Teaching you can write a quick note online to a teacher that made a difference and they will publish it on the website for the next 30 days. People from all over the world are doing this and it’s inspiring to see all the lives that teachers have changed.

3. Support Charity: Water!

Charity: Water is an amazing organization that is striving to end the water crisis that affects 1 billion people living without clean drinking water. The truth is, water affects everything: education, health, poverty and especially women and children. But in the past 5 years, they’ve been able to help bring clean water to two million people in need. Now they are trying to raise the money to buy another drilling rig that will provide 40,000 people with water each year. Normally I don’t ask for people to donate money since everyone’s financial situation is different, but this is a cause truly worth supporting, even with $1 or the $3.50 you would have spent on a coffee today. Charity: Water is all about accountability too and donates 100% to clean water (not employee salaries) and shows films and gps locations of everywhere your money is going.

4. Donate Old Clothes!

(Source)

Let’s face it, you are probably never going to wear those jeans in the back of your closet or that shirt that ‘never really fit right but you bought because it was on sale’ again. Yet, they take up prime space in your closet and don’t serve a purpose. But they could make a real difference in someone else’s life- that suit could be the outfit that a homeless woman wears to an interview that lands her a job and takes her off the streets. It could be the outfit that a student gets to wear for their first day of school, feeling confident for the first time. Your old clothes can be doing great things in this world, so find a shelter or organization to donate to today!

5. Thank a 9/11 Hero

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 just passed, I am filled with such sorrow for what happened and gratitude for all who have sacrificed. This great website shows you a picture and a short synopsis of heros from that day. By signing in with your Facebook account, you can write a short note of thanks to these incredible men and women.

Have a great weekend everyone and Take 5!!

Questions:

-What would you thank a teacher for?

-What message would you like to tell young girls regarding body image?