Argumentative Essay: The First Miss American Beauty Pageant

1461 Words6 Pages
The distressing inquiry “am I beautiful?” generates 228,300,000 more Google results than “am I intelligent?” and “am I a good person?” combined. Inevitably, people always search for traces of their superiority over others-counting among them, beauty. The unhealthy tendency to place an emphasis on exterior appearances over inner beauty has ceaselessly saturated our society, from the ancient Greek kallisteia beauty contests (Calame 123) to more modern Miss America pageants.
America’s first beauty competition had its humble, racist, and sexist beginning in Atlantic City, 1921. In an attempt to maintain profits past Labor Day, the city’s Businessmen’s League hosted the Inter-City Beauty Contest to attract tourists and those who wanted to see “thousands of the most beautiful girls in the land” (The First Miss America Beauty Pageant). The competition unfolded with the parade of King Neptune, surrounded by a retinue of women and black “slaves,” and concluded with the appointment of a Miss America based on the enthusiasm of the audience’s applause. Women’s first official protest against the burgeoning Miss America occurred in 1968. The contest, they denounced, was not only racist because of its
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The bikini round in particular heavily objectifies the butt-glued women who partake in it. Participants are judged purely based on their bodies by a panel of officials licking their lips and a giddy, whistling audience. The parading of women as mere eye candy and distribution of points based on the amount of sex appeal they exude is demeaning to the women who are implicitly being told that their worth is equivalent to their looks. While Miss America recently changed its criteria for the swimsuit competition to “Lifestyle and Fitness” (Miss America), the 2017 contestants continue to strut their thin figures along the stage in high
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