Do you remember the feeling of seeing a rectangle box under the Christmas tree? That tall beautiful medley of cardboard and plastic could only mean one thing: a new Barbie doll. After 25 minutes and a combination of scissors, tweezers, hands, and teeth, there I sat: a seven-year-old Indian-American girl stoking her beautiful blonde hair and I remember thinking to myself that she was perfect.
My entire life I was convinced that the perfect woman looked exactly like Barbie, and I had every reason to believe so. The actresses on television, models on the runways, and beauty queens in Miss America were just that: tall, blonde, and skinny, and that’s where it hit me: by only crowing a certain “Barbie-like” image we as a society are deeming that others outside of that very small population are inferior in terms of beauty. So I made it my mission, to become part of the solution, and start with the problem.
Service is where I come from and it is where I intend to go. My dream is to work in a field with I can promote female empowerment and confidence in young women. My greatest intellectual endeavor could be my academic success in my short time during my undergraduate career, or intellectual can be defined as creative, something that made a difference in the lives of young women. My voluntary work with young girls throughout the community on public speaking, stage presence, and interview skills has encouraged me to develop my own program in conjunction with Girl Talk peer mentoring program. I collaborate with young female community leaders and titleholders to develop a mentoring program focused on diversity in middle school girls. These girls are paired with mentors to create a safe and secure place to discuss issues that affect them, like cyber bulling, Internet safety, communicating with parents, and self-image. I started working with teen girls at the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter for all four years of high school where I conducted Girl’s Groups, interactive activities that engage the residents and encourage them to talk about their issues that affect them and communicate with other residents. I truly believe that peer to peer mentoring is the best way to reach out to community residents and help them to do things they didn’t think were possible and realize all of the doors that are open to us.
I got involved with pageantry two years ago and have participated in four pageants since. With three titles to my name I have made it my mission to speak out about my platform and talk to young girls about what it really means to be “beautiful.” I understand the irony in promoting “Beauty Without Barriers” in a beauty pageant, but the pageants that I participate in and coach other young women for are scholarship organizations that require women to be poised, elegant, talented, and well-spoken. I have personally seen the difference pageants can make in a young woman’s self-confidence and her ability to present herself in interviews and in front of large audiences.
While “Toddlers and Tiaras” is still infecting televisions all over the world, pageant girls are fighting to keep the reputation of pageantry positive. I have always loved to get dressed up and was born with competitive bones in my body, but my mother was against pageants from the start. On my nineteenth birthday, the only thing I asked for was support in the Miss India Georgia pageant that summer. My mother bit her tongue the entire summer, although occasionally I heard a “waste of time” under her breath. However, come show time my mom stood by my side through hair, makeup, and dressed me for quick changes. I could not have done it without her and the moment they called my name I looked directly at her and saw a tear run down her face. Even my own mother, the ultimate pageant skeptic, is a true believer in the confidence and character that pageantry builds.
Months later I interviewed for summer internships and was lucky enough to get two amazing offers, both complimenting me on my excellent interview skills. I credit much of my quick thinking and ability to express myself to pageants. Additionally, other hidden benefits of competing in are poise and the ability to command attention when speaking. When I work as a coach the first thing I do is make sure that my girls set a goal for themselves, and “winning” is not an option. The girls must focus on other benefits of pageantry like stage presence, meeting new people, improving interview skills, poise & grace, etc.
I will not deny that some pageants are nothing more than a group of outsiders judging someone on their physical beauty, but most pageants are much more than just that. With talent, interview, platforms, and question-answer segments, pageants are moving away from aesthetics and forcing contestants to be well-spoken, knowledgeable, and graceful young ladies who are passionate about a purpose.
Last June I competed in a pageant that was specifically designed for women under 5’5 tall thus giving an equal opportunity for young women to become role models and promote their platforms. I was crowned the first ever Miss USA Petite and given the ability to speak out against the phenomenon of “beauty.”
Even with my seven inch crown, I still bear no resemblance to Barbie, but I do have the platform and the opportunity to speak to young women about what it really means to be “beautiful” and comfortable in your own skin. “Beauty without Barriers” is a program I have successful begun to develop with the help of other successful young women. The peer mentoring group pairs local, state, and national beauty queens with middle school girls to talk about important issues like body image, bullying, and cyber safety. My goal is to promote female empowerment at the young age and help young girls feel comfortable and “beautiful” no matter what shape, size, or color they are.
Sabrina is a junior at the University of Georgia majoring in Advertising with a double minor in Spanish and Women’s Studies as well as receiving a New Media Technology certificate. Sabrina has previously held the Miss India Georgia 2009 title and was third runner up at Miss India USA. With the confidence that pageants given her she decided to pursue her passion with her platform: Peer Mentoring: Beauty without Barriers.
internships, Sabrina Nooruddin, University of Georgia, CAREER PATH, VOICES FROM CAMPUS
Female Beauty Pageants Essay
Beauty pageants seem to serve no apparent purpose for societal reasons. They denigrate the image of females as far as gender equality goes. There is many different ranges of beauty pageants all over the world. Females can be as small as 2 months. Many girls dream to become Miss U.S.A or Miss World. It seems to give the idea that you have to be beautiful and be up to the judges expectations of how a beauty queen should act and looks like. They have a negative effect on the people in today’s society especially the younger female population. The females can develop insecurity problems and low confidence due to the fact they did not win a competition and not feel “beautiful” as the title of a “Beauty” Pageant.
Children female beauty pageants such as the televised show “Toddlers and Tiaras,” have a bad influence on young girls. The show more or over is a reality show of young girls in between the ages of as young as 3 months and older. Truly, this is poisoning their brains. Not only are they poisoning the young childs brains, but teaching them that face and body image is everything. It does not help the young girls self-esteem; it is damaging them morally in the real sense that they are real people that are being taught looks are important. There is other activities to build up a childs self-esteem other than beauty pageants as parents believe; such as dancing, sports or acting lessons. Especially the younger children who get influenced faster, are taught to be more beautiful on the outside than the inside. For example, lots of the girls on the show and in local beauty pageants usually tan, wear wigs, wear false eyelashes, fake nails and makeup. What is this teaching them? It is morally wrong for a girl that young to be adding all this to herself. Shockingly, even kids are getting plastic surgery nowadays. The amount of chemicals such as lots of hairspray applied to the girls hair used in a pageant is also very harmful to the children. The young females absorb all the glitz and the glam through their experiences in pageants, but that is not teaching them how the real world is like. People will accept you for who you are; any shape or size. Parents spend a fortune on pageants. The travel, outfits and a personal hair and makeup dresser can be up to twenty thousand dollars or more. The judges base most of the scoring on the way they present themselves. Confidence is key but the thing that is disturbing is what some of the children wear in pageants. Kids as little as 5 years old, wear seductive outfits. This is horrifying and should be banned. Young females should not have to present themselves in a “sexy” way. It shows what America wants from young girls nowadays- sex appeal.
A former pageant gooer, where the murder still remains unsolved, is the story of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey. She was found beaten and strangled just hours after she went missing in the basement of her home in 1996. She was a child beauty pageant contestant. Her parents...
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