When people knew that I had joined a pageant, I got a lot of appreciations and “you’ll surely win” kind of statements but along with that I also herd, “I never thought you’d do a pageant” or “oh! This is something different.”
Yeah, typically we assume pageants to be for the girls who are really into fashion and modelling. But I had a totally different background. Moreover, I was an advocate of body confidence and ran free being me sessions with children and taught them how fashion industry is creating stereotypes about beauty. So, pageant was out of a box kind of thing for me.
I was always interested in pageants. I loved to watch pageants as a child. Always used to get amazed at how the girls carried themselves so confidently on the stage. But, it never occurred to me that I’d be a part of one.
It was during my +2 days, when one of my friends, Anusha talked me into joining a pageant. It was then when I considered, “Maybe I should take part in one someday.”
But when I looked into some of the applications, I WAS DISAPPOINTED!!
In order to take part in the contest, you needed to meet some criteria. Criteria not as in the age criteria or the educational criteria but the “beauty criteria.”
It’s not that I didn’t fit into the criteria. But somehow somewhere I didn’t feel right to take part and promote a platform which promotes the standards on beauty.
C’mon, every girl should have right to take part in any contests she wishes to and express herself. No limits of her beauty should be a barrier.
One of the many reasons I joined Miss Newa is because it has “no beauty criteria.” This line drew my attention to the contest.
And after going through 2 months of training and finally being able to win the crown, I can say that at last what really matters is how you carry yourselves, what really matters is your smartness and your confidence. Obviously, your physical appearances also play a part but its not only about that.
When I was traveling abroad, I used to get complements on my Aryan features and even got asked if was a model. When I said no, they said you should consider being a model, maybe like a face model. I used to laugh it off and say, “Okay I’ll keep that in the possibilities. But what’s wrong with my body?” And then I smirked and thought by myself, “Oh yeah I don’t fit into the stereotypical skinny divas and I don’t have that Wow 5’10” height.”
See here is the thing, knowingly or unknowingly we are creating the beauty standards and these things like a boomerang are hitting us right back.
Few weeks ago, I came to know that a girl child didn’t want to fill out a form for a children’s pageant because she thought she wasn’t pretty enough to get past the audition round.
Talking about this on a broader perspective, on an experiment done by Dove, women were given two choices of doors to enter the building, one had “beautiful” sign on it and the other had “average” sign. And not to my utter surprise most women chose the “average” door.
We are the ones limiting and undervaluing our own beauty based on the comparisons we do with the magazine cover girls who have went through months of grooming, hours of make up and skills of air brushing.
We live in a society in which we judge and compare each other by our outer appearances. We blame society for that but in the meantime aren’t we the society?