Miss Universe 2015 is…. well, if you don’t know what happened next, let me explain. Just over a year ago, the beauty pageant caused a media frenzy online after host, Steve Harvey, incorrectly announced Miss Columbia as the winner. Even though the masses were taking to social media sites to share memes about the occasion, some were questioning why pageants are still a thing in the 21st century and how it is a setback on how far women have come.
It is 2017 and after a new wave of feminism, it is no longer about how beauty contests are objectifying women – it’s a celebration of them. Too many people thought that they were judged on physical appearance, but that’s only one part of it. It’s not all parading around in bikinis looking spectacular – they have a talent as well. It also allows the contestants to enlighten others about causes that are close to their heart.
Women can gain confidence, improve their communication skills, things which they can take into job interviews and reach professional positions, making more women powerful and independent as a result.
Miss Dundee Galaxy, Rebeka Percival, is competing for the Miss Galaxy Scotland title on March 10th and hopes to reach the international event in the United States to boost her confidence. “As a young girl, I have always had confidence issues. I was a victim of bullying throughout my early years of school, which knocked the self-confidence within me as well as having body image issues. While travelling around the United States, I was put forward by one of my friends for Miss Galaxy to help build my self-esteem and confidence.”
The contest can help competitors make new friends and present a different perspective on the competition. According to Galaxy’s website, their mission is to “emphasise beauty, style and cultural appreciation”.
Pageants have evolved over the years. Although Rebeka believed there was always something only for the stereotypical skinny and glamourous looking females, her perception has now changed.
“Since being a part of the Galaxy family, I have now realised that it is an industry where females are not competing against each other, however, they are instead supporting each other. This industry encourages girls to love their body, love themselves and love each other.”
The competitions give women a platform to raise awareness for HIV, invisible illness and disabilities – it gives them a voice. Before, it may have been about gorgeous, scantily-clad women, but now it is about making a difference to the world and highlighting empowerment.
Miss Galaxy Dundee thinks that nothing should come between women feeling happy with their bodies and sexualisation being an issue in this generation. “I believe that if women feel happy enough to get dressed up, showcase their incredible bodies and flaunt it on stage then it is brilliant. Women should not have to face discrimination when it comes to being beautiful. They are all beautiful and it doesn’t matter what shape or size you are.”
It is about time that we stopped believing what we saw on American TV shows and establish a great way for all females to support each other.