The Beauty Pageant Practices We Want to Stop Seeing
Sep 6, 2023   •   Alex Alvarez
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Sep 6, 2023   •   Alex Alvarez
The all-new local beauty pageant Miss Philippines prides itself in being “the newest, most innovative and modern pageant in the Philippines.” With the tagline “Pageantry reinvented,” they’ve gotten plenty of praise for their new policies for screening potential candidates, including accepting mothers and wives as applicants and removing the standard swimsuit segment. This, then, made us think of the outdated practices in the beauty pageant world that perhaps we should get rid of.
Since their inception, most major pageants have held swimsuit competitions in their program. Traditionally, beauty pageants have been all about judging the physical characteristics of the contestants. But over the decades, the backlash against this competition has gotten louder. In response, Miss World has banned bikinis, opting for one-piece swimsuits and sarongs instead. But Miss Philippines has one-upped this move, removing the swimsuit competition altogether.
For most beauty pageants, contestants are required to be single (meaning not married, divorced, widowed) and childless. In 1974, UK representative Helen Morgan was crowned Miss World, but was forced to step down after it was revealed that she was a mother. It was only this year that one of the major pageants, particularly Miss Universe, welcomed three mothers as contestants.
The Miss Philippines pageant seems to hope to overturn this tradition as well. The pageant organizer has recently announced that they are accepting applicants who are mothers and wives, though it is notable that their initial post only named applicants who are single.
While it varies per pageant, height requirements usually fall within the same range. In the Philippines, it usually starts at 5’4”, while other countries typically send candidates standing at 5’7”. In 2021, the Miss Universe organization rocked the pageant world when they removed the height requirement. This allowed candidates like Ayn Bernos to join Miss Universe Philippines.
AYN BERNOS IS STILL A QUEEN!
Thank you for reminding us that beauty isn’t all about skin tone, height, shape, or fame but it also comes with a golden heart and passion to uplift others. Even without the MUP crown, you will always be a true queen. 💖#MissUniversePhilippines2021 pic.twitter.com/nJcV1r80Mz
— You know who⚡ (@yellow_abyss) September 30, 2021
It was only in recent years that the major pageants adjusted their age requirement, though only by a few years. For instance, Miss Supranational raised their upper age limit from 28 to 32. Following this, the Miss Philippines pageant set their age range requirement at 18 to 32.
After the preliminary rounds, the rest of the candidates who aren’t able to place have little to no chances to speak and show their beauty beyond the surface level. Even once videos of those preliminary segments are released on the internet, audiences and fans aren’t always able to actually watch them. The Miss Philippines pageant seemingly wants to overturn this by transforming the Q&A portion to a Ted Talk-style segment.
Beauty pageants still have a long way to go to become more progressive and inclusive. But clearly, they are changing for the better. While some people disagree with these changes (or think these changes aren’t happening quickly enough), we can say that there is a greater focus on intelligence, talent, and social impact, moving away from narrow beauty standards and embracing diversity.
Do you agree with our list? Share your thoughts with us below.
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