Almost all of us are familiar with beauty pageants, every year the Miss India beauty contest is held and three of the “most beautiful” girls are chosen winners. These three eventually go on to represent India at international beauty pageants and try to bring the crown back home.
The first Miss India pageant was held in 1949 and it has come a long way since the. India’s first winner at an international pageant was Reita Faria, who won the title in 1966. After that India has won numerous international beauty titles and we are familiar with many famous winners, such as Zeenat Aman, Aishwarya Rai, Diana Hayden, Sushmita Sen, Dia Mirza, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutta and Yukta Mookhey. Most of these women went on to make a successful career in films for themselves and are very well known across India.
Beauty pageants have been the very first reality show that we as views have witnessed, long before reality shows became the rage on TV, the way they are today. If someone were to capture what goes on behind the scenes of a Miss India pageant, it would definitely make for a super hit reality show.
All the girls who take part in this pageant are fiercely competitive and are willing to put anything at stake to win the title. A few of these girls come from numerous small towns across India and beauty contests such as these can be their instant ticket to name, fame and big money. The pressure on the participants is intense and so is the bitchyness between them. Can you imagine fifty odd girls, vying for the same title, living with each other under the same roof twenty four hours a day? Hence, it’s only natural for them to be bickering and arguing with each other.
The Miss India pageant is also a massive business venture. Big brands, such as Pantaloons, Femina and Ponds sponsor this event and a lot of money is made in the bargain. The girls who win these pageants get an automatic ticket to the world of modeling and films and get instant fame. Many also believe that these contests are rigged and the winner is already decided before hand and hence the entire contest is only an eyewash.
There are many who are against pageants such as they believe that they beauty pageants objectify women, who are paraded down ramps semi clad for the entertainment of people. Some social activists also believe that these beauty contests are against the cultural values of India, where women are revered and respected and not used as objects or the entertainment of others.
Beauty pageants such as these also make other young girls inferiors about themselves and may lead to eating disorders such an anorexia and bulimia in young girls, who want to be as slim as the girls they see competing in these shows. Many beauty care brands also make money off such insecurities by promoting fairness creams, anti ageing products etc.
At the end of the day one must realize that contests such as these are one of the many ways brands and people aim to make money and should let them affect us in any way. Competitions like these are not the final say in who is beautiful and who is not. Because in my opinion, all women are beautiful. Period.