Battistoni, Alicia Rodriguez. “Miss America is No Ideal”, Boston College, 2013. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/3068.
There are strict rules and expectations that govern the world’s idea of femininity and beauty. What are the repercussions of selecting one type of beauty to be ideal on a global scale? After watching the pageant and reading previous scholars’ findings, I argue that the Miss America Pageant presents its participants as women to be admired while its practices objectify women’s bodies. Several myths dictate how contestants should behave and historically diversity has failed to break into the pageant. On a global scale, Miss America has inspired other international beauty pageants, causing countries to compete with one another for the most beautiful woman. Selecting one beauty often times is based purely on appearance, like body type or racial characteristics. The implications of one beauty means that all women, all over the world, feel compelled to meet the standards set by this one beauty, this winner. In turn, women who do not measure up feel inadequate and strive to change their appearances to meet the mold. This model also homogenizes the concept of beauty that previously was diverse and culturally based. Pageants, like Miss America, therefore encourage women to objectify themselves in order to meet an international beauty standard that is historically based on white or western appearances.