Beauty queen. A noun with the definition, "A woman judged most beautiful in a beauty contest." Or so the New Oxford American Dictionary says.
Okay, Oxford, we need to talk. Although some terms and definitions remain unchanging throughout the times, "beauty queen," I would argue is not one of them. Yes, your definition reflects the origin of beauty pageants. But pageants have evolved to be so much more than a quest for outer beauty in recent years.
No longer are organizations looking for the most beautiful to be "the face" of their brand. Instead, an emphasis is placed on finding a brand spokesperson. Timely, considering in the age of social media and legions of followers, individuals have public platforms like never before.
I say it's time for a revision.
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See, it's not just about beauty. Thank goodness because what kind of message would that send to young girls and boys? Didn't win the genetic lottery? Aw, too bad. Thanks, Mum and Dad. It's now shifting to what we do have control over: our wit, charm, intelligence, personality. Beauty is becoming a mindset: an attitude.
Nowadays, there are pageants for women, men, and transgenders. The election of the new Miss Spain (Angela Ponce) as the first ever transgender to represent her country at the Miss Universe 2018 pageant is bringing the gender discussion to the forefront. All of this is a sign of the inclusive future of pageantry.
Candidates as advocates: This is one of the most beautiful progressions within pageantry. Speaking from experience as a Filipina beauty queen, a crown gives you a platform where people listen. My advocacies that I've been working with for the last two, three years now share the spotlight with me. Most of us beauty queens are rising to the occasion, using our platform to promote a cause, which both engages our communities and gives back to them.
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So, Oxford, what do you say?
To be able to see past the external, to really see a person for whom they are and what they stand for—it's what everyone and even beauty queens deserve. In a world that defines you, how will you define yourself?
So, here's how I'm revising it.
Beauty queen. N, an empowered individual who promotes her cause and/or advocacy through the platform of a pageant. Judged as the most suitable spokesperson of the organization through a criteria of beauty, confidence, performance, communicative ability, and personality.
And I thank you.
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