Sunday, August 29, 2010

What constitutes 'Beauty'?



Pageants all over the world have different profiles and target different markets. Some pageants look for swimsuit models for magazines, some look for models for the fashion industry, some look for new faces into tinsel town. Some also claim to be engaged in identifying ambassadors for welfare activities and programmes.

 I saw some portions of the Miss Universe pageant 2010 that rocked Las Vegas. And as it has always been the rule, than the exception a damsel from Mexico (a third world- or may be developing country) was crowned .And Miss India Ushoshi Sengupta not only drew flak for her fancy dress kind costume and also she lost out.

Nevertheless Mexico a developing country won the title. And that would suffice and serve well the purpose behind this expensive well marketed joke of fancy dress competitions. The many multinational manufacturers of women’s beauty products, swim suits and costumes stand to gain, because a woman from the third world, a developing country is now their mascot, and ambassador. And their sales in the impoverished third world will get a flip. New markets and vistas will be opened up.

Ostensibly as it has always been claimed, the goal of these damsels is to eradicate poverty, bring forth child welfare, empower women, world peace etc. In 2002 (I wonder if I got the year correct) the beauty pageant did do something for peace in Nigeria. When ethnic and religious violence against such events went out of control. Wonder what an impoverished country like Nigeria could do for world peace by hosting such an event. The pageant organisers had to run lock stock and barrel.
I’m not ipso facto against such pageants like Miss World and Miss Universe. But my question is what have they achieved other than triple the sale of cosmetics and expensive women’s accessories. Big marketing syndicates have gained. And the damsels who have won tactfully enter the highly rewarding theatre of activity, films and advertising.
We have such a few cases here in India too. The The Aiswaryas, the Sushmitas,the Priyankas, the Lara Duttas,the Omana Kuttans  all have got the one way ticket to Bollywood and have made it big. In what way have their crowning, fame and name ameliorated the perils of women? In what way have these ladies contributed to women’s welfare and empowerment? I remember some of these ladies declare ostensibly at the pageant when asked about their ambition, and aim in life. “Poverty eradication, children’s welfare, women’s empowerment”! What laudable and magnanimous goals!
Mother Teresa was not a beauty queen by these yardsticks and bench marks.And was never turned to by these pageants .But yet she have done during her life time much for peace , for the dis-Publish Postempowered,the dispossessed and the meek than all the beauties  can ever dream of or claim .

And the bottom line is what constitutes ‘beauty’?

18 comments:

Balachandran V said...

Why are you being so naive? Like everything else in this world, beauty pageants are also commercial events. Everybody knows that the Mother Teresa-like comments from the girls are part of the farce that is being played.

So sit back and enjoy the Show! Of course, sometimes all this hypocrisy wears us down, but then as we age, we should be comfortable with it.

Insignia said...

A huge grin at Bala's comment.

True, its open that such events are purely for commercial purpose and do not do much otherwise. These beauty queens do tour the world of the first year by being associated with WHO, UN and such. But what they do there? no one knows. Our media has not thought about stalking them yet!!

Hope someone from the media reads your post. We can have some fodder for few days!!

Here in our country, Miss India contests are direct ticket to Bollywood. Thats their dream, I always wonder about their goal? Having a perfect bod implicates acting talent?

anilkurup said...

@ Bals,

Dey not being naive. I do enjoy the scantly clad girls, and the show per se .
It is the cacophony that is aroused when one of the girls win . More the Indian patriotic fervour when it is someone from India.
The pity is that the generation that is on the move now gets bowled over by such gimmicks and want to ape every thing an Aiswarya or a Sushmita does. And get fooled in the process. Also some one must stand up and ask how close or near the proclaimed goals these girls went by.
Is size zero or minus one beauty?
Ha I do enjoy the curvature and the cleaves, no denying that, so do you.

anilkurup said...

@insignia
Everybody know that these pageants are gimmicks and advertisement.
You know the post was just my thoughts. Really dose not care a hoot.
The news media and people need daily fodder .

A New Beginning said...

Thats a deep thought Anil, but the que is in this material world what course do peoples thoughts take...Mother was very different..an entirely different subject to ponder upon..cant really connect her to the popular minds at this day and age.

Shilpa Garg said...

A beauty contest is a game for name, fame and money for all involved with it. All the talk of poverty eradication, peace is just the talk and nothing else!! :(

RGB said...

Beauty contests are just another form of entertainment, and of course, raking in big moolah in the process! And since the event garners audience from around the world from different walks of life, it's a powerful medium of marketing and communication too. The beauties who want to do this and become that, become brand ambassadors of products and even welfare services. And in a way they do good, because the masses are attracted to celebs and believe everything they say!

anilkurup said...

@A New Beginning

Yes You are right Mother was a different subject altogether.
I did not intent to mix the Mother and the beauties in swim suits. The point was only the laudable orations of these women on the podium and what and how they have conducted against their proclaimed aspirations to do community and social service. And such pageants though are fun to watch are intended to hijack many a noble cause to further pure commercial interests in third world countries.


@ Shilpa Garg,

Yes You are on the dot.

@ RGB

If people can see the game behind then it is fine still

kavita said...

There are varying perceptions of beauty .The concept of beauty is changing and deteriorating very fast.The modern day definition of beauty is limited to physical aspects only .It can be bought and acquired very easily now a days.You name it ,they have it..fairness creams,cosmetics,silicone,surgeries,lasers.Money game...at the end of the day.

anilkurup said...

@ Kavita,
You are right perception vary.
Intelligence, culture, modesty,education, civility,honesty , such qualities seems to be not part of the concept. How good are the physical endowments that can sell the products you named - that is the measure of "beauty"
All said and done I would not mind watching these beauties on show.

deeps said...

I think I would reserve my words on individuals for the simple reason that I don’t know any of them well enough…if and when they do or decline from doing something they have their reasons for that….

Anyhow, I appreciate and respect sushmita sen for being a mom to Renee!!

maybe there are others also in the line...

Tomz said...

Wishing you a hi,

For the first time in your blog..

You have a nice blog in terms of content..

Though raised often and many times before, I think your questions still remain questions and never loses its prominence.

Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

“But my question is what have they achieved other than triple the sale of cosmetics and expensive women’s accessories.”

I think the answer lies in your question. The purpose is to triple or quadruple or even more; the sale of cosmetics and expensive women’s accessories. And of course, as you mentioned they get into movies, ads and all.

I work in advertising. Recently we have had to pitch for a new client, a chain of salons. We are trying to rope in women who did something for the society eg: those who plant trees, save street dogs… I know it’s rubbish and the intention of the salon is to make business and nothing else but I’d to do it and write ‘you look great when you do something great’. Do I need to tell more about beauty pageants which are sponsored by cosmetic giants.

Of late I haven’t seen a single beauty pageant. The last time I watched a pageant in TV was the one held in Sun City, S.A. For me, apart from the skimpily clad damsels, it’s the winner’s smile that’s the most important factor. Haven’t you noticed the way they express their surprise, by placing those beautiful palms right in front of their mouth and their “Oh, Gosh Mamma had sent me to the local market to buy some vegetables and then I came to know about the contest, participated, and now see what’s happened” look.

Thanks for the photographs :)

anilkurup said...

@Tomz
Thanks for coming. Visit again pls.

@ Arun Meethale Chirakkal

Yes the surprise and wonder the girls show in their face when they are declared winners. Ha you are right. As it is with the case of many other things this is also fantasy and make beleive.

sujata said...

What they have achieved is that almost every girl child stands before the mirror today and feels like a failure when she doesnt see skinny bitch staring back at her. Thats what enrages me, I see my daughter, her friends and the rest of this generation lapping up what these paegents sell as beauty.

anilkurup said...

@ Sujatha
I like the phrase"Skinny bitch"
You are absolutely spot on.
It is make believe and a sham. How can some multi national corporate business inflict these anaemic looking 0 size girls on us as world beauties?
I think we are to be blamed- the lousy asses - the masses

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