The Society in which we live in tries to keep women bound to their traditional expectations and roles by many means. Many are subtle and many are quite in your face, which the latter is the category in which the topic I wish to address to you lies. I wish to speak to you regarding the “feminization” that takes place on the stage before us: the audience. From the traditional beauty pageant to the mainstream competitions of image, we find that women are pushed to be feminized at most stages of their lives.
Oh… a pageant, a beauty pageant nonetheless. What better way to conform the women of tomorrow than to start them young and teach them the shallow ways of society. Teaching them to parade themselves on the stage for the entertainment of their onlooking audience of this profession and the judgment of those who performed before. Sure, there are competitions for beauty for the male counterpart, but is it an instrument to conform them to the set roles and expectations of society? No. Men are actually pushed away from such activities On the other hand, women shown and taught what it means to be “beautiful” such as acting feminine (submissive, dainty, etc.). Many might say beauty is in the inside, but during the competition it is “the best book cover” that is the winning theme.
Secondly is the instruction of manner and grace which we call Cotillion. Yes, Cotillion, the old world technique to train women to acquire the traditional passive image of femininity for showcasing at balls. Yes, there is nothing wrong with learning some social etiquette, but to somewhat take away their individuality and promote dependency on men? This just simply objectifies women in order to preserve overly patriarchal ideologies of the rank of women.
And finally, I come to the mainstream contests of beauty of which we are acquainted with so well. I will use Miss America as a point of discussion. What does such a competition promote? Personality, Talent… No. I have to admit there are talented women in such a contest, but what does it boil down to? Physical appearance overrides the outcome of such competitions more times than not. But that is not just it. These women are role models to the women of tomorrow so what is the message that is being sent when they observe this in the media? “Be Beautiful and I win”, right? The cycle repeats. The audience becomes the actors.
Logan Young 002