If you follow me on social media, it is no surprise that I am a self-proclaimed pageant girl. I have many hobbies from working out to writing to as simple as spending time with my family. But, there is a hobby I picked up the last year that I have absolutely fallen in love with…PAGEANTS. My hobby, however, doesn’t always seem to be met with positivity.
Pageant contestants are met with so much negativity on a daily basis. I’m the type of person who loves adventure, and honest competition, so when I entered my first pageant, I was excited to share the news with my family and friends. And, I am not going to lie to you, I was one of those people that HATED the idea of pageants before I competed in one.
The argument I’ve heard from most people against pageantry is that the contestants are “exploited’ and “parade around in swimwear”. Yes… We do wear swimsuits in SOME pageants ( not all pageants have a swimwear portion)… And I have no issue with this… and here’s why.
I work extremely hard to maintain a healthy body. This includes eating clean and working out. When I reach a goal, whether it be running the extra mile, or lifting a heavier weight, I feel proud and want to share that accomplishment. Through lifestyle and fitness competition, I am able to do so. I do not feel exploited whatsoever. Thankfully I have my own brain which can decide whether it feels exploited or not…. And I don’t need you to help me make that decision!
Thankfully I have my own brain which can decide whether it feels exploited or not…. And I don’t need you to help me make that decision! 😉
Many people who are against pageantry also claim that it is anti-feminist for the same reason. I am a feminist, and I use the term proudly in conversation. When outsiders say that I am not a feminist because I compete, I find a lot of trouble with their argument.
My definition of a feminist is someone who believes that a woman has the right to do whatever she chooses and that she should not be judged for her decisions… Especially if a man would be met with praise for making the same decision!
Through pageants I have learned to be confident, to speak in public, and how to walk into a room full of people I don’t know. I learned life skills that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I have A LOT of reasons for loving pageants, but here are my top 4 reasons why I compete in pageants and why I will CONTINUE to compete in them.
I learned to support and love the very girls I was competing against.
For several weeks I practiced, laughed, ate, and dreamed with these girls. The first day I met them, I was faced with a choice: withdraw from them because they were my competition or encourage and love them. I chose the latter and enjoyed friendships and even reciprocal support from them.
Are you loving the women in your life or competing with them?
I learned more about who I was.
As I prepared for the fishbowl questions and interview, I pondered questions I’d never considered before. Who is my role model, and why? What would I do with an extra hour every day? What quality do I desire most in a friend? If I were President for a day, what would I change? This thoughtful reflection was beneficial, as it’s easy to hurry through life without knowing who you are or what you believe. Now, it’s your turn!
Here are three actual pageant questions:
Where do you see yourself fifteen years from now?
Who is the most influential person in your life?
What constitutes true beauty?
I learned to accept criticism.
One traumatic afternoon, the contestants and I were learning how to walk for the evening gown portion. (I should let you know that I have always been told that I have the perfect walk, so I went into this on my high horse about how good my walk was haha.) A visiting pageant director unsuccessfully tried to stifle his laughter at my pitiful attempt, and his laugh came out like a snort. That night, I considered dropping out of the pageant but opted to work under a critical eye.
Often there’s wisdom to be gained from the criticism of others.
How do you handle criticism? Do you look for the wisdom in it or “stiffen your neck” out of anger or pride?
I learned to carry myself with more confidence.
I didn’t realize this when I first entered the pageant, but confidence is what wins the crown. The judges aren’t so narrow-minded that they only want a blond, tanned, curvy beauty. They want a uniquely gifted woman who is comfortable with herself. This was hard for me. Truth was, I wasn’t a confident girl. I was full of insecurities. But I did my best to put on a façade of confidence. I learned how to carry myself and walk—two skills I thought I’d mastered years before! I practiced everywhere: walking through the mall, driving in my car, and while working out at the gym. I’m still learning how to live with confidence every day.
My source of confidence isn’t in a makeover or new clothes or a confident walk. Just like the source of my beauty isn’t a fancy dress or pageant-worthy hair. It’s in knowing how much I have to offer the world and recognizing just how much of a Girl Boss I truly am.
What makes you feel confident?
And, I am not the only one who feels this way about pageants. I asked a few pageant queens to give us their personal thoughts on pageants and here is what they had to say:
What do you think of pageants?
Have you competed in a pageant before? What was your experience like?
What or who inspires you to be your most confident self?