2018 was a sad year for Miss America, when they removed the swimsuit section of the pageant, away from contestants judged too much on physical beauty.
Julia Morley, who took over Miss Great Britain from her husband Eric in 2000, previously deleted the section in 2014, saying women simply pacing back and forth in bikinis “doesn’t do anything for the woman, it doesn’t nothing “. for each of us.
This week, Miss England contestant and political student Melissa Raouf went makeup-free in the semi-finals, deciding to rely only on her natural beauty. This is the first time this has happened in the series’ 94-year history.
And then ? No snappy teeth whitener back in the days when our rotten teeth fell out naturally? Stopping washing your hair because the grease is part and parcel of having sebaceous glands under the follicles?
What does everyone have against beauty? At a time when women are deprived of their very gender, this should be a time to celebrate femininity, not throw it back into the box where it has lain dormant for centuries.
I grew up watching beauty contests on a small black and white TV that my parents rented. I loved their other worldliness – a life far removed from the one I lived growing up in a small village in Wales. The day my parents traded in the old television for a color television was one of the happiest days of my life. and, gods, the first time I saw Miss World in all her rainbow glory, I thought I was going to gasp with excitement.
Stephen writes: “What does everyone have against beauty? At a time when women are deprived of their very gender, this should be a time to celebrate femininity’
This week, political student Melisa Raouf (left without make-up and right) made headlines when she became the first contestant to appear without make-up in the Miss England pageant.
My parents put my brother and me to bed at 6 p.m., promising that if we slept two hours, they would wake us up for the start of the competition at 8 p.m. Oh, the thrill of getting back down into our dressing gowns and having another two hours of adult time in front of the kaleidoscopic array of beauties!
I could only dream of one day looking like one of the hourglass figures in a bathing suit. I was going to ballet classes at the time and it was clear from the start that I was never going to make it on the catwalk.
For the year-end show, the company was split into two sections – 32 Snowflakes, who would don pink satin tutus and pumps, and six Fishermen, whose costumes were brown shorts, sandals and a white and brown gingham top.
I was chosen as a fisherman (I still feel the rubber band pinching my chubby arms today).
I still remember the “dance” (I use the word loosely) when, rod in hand, I had to go on stage with my fellow fishermen, cast the net, check for a fish and shake my head when I discovered the net was empty. Then we cast our nets again, marveling at the nonexistent fish we had caught, and off we went. That was it.
Years later, in high school, I was chosen to play Cinna the poetess of Julius Caesar. Basically, the bard goes on stage, says something like “Hello, I’m Cinna the poetess”, gets stabbed and dragged away.
In the school nurseries, I was never going to be Mary – it was always the girl with the long blond hair. Even back then, my hair looked more like Hitler’s than Marie Antoinette’s.
Stephen, who grew up in rural Wales, writes of his joy at being allowed to stay up late with his brother in order to watch beauty pageants in their youth.
Stephen writes that while watching beauty pageants in her youth, she could only dream of looking like the contestants and their hourglasses
Destined to spend my life behind the scenes during my youth, I nevertheless grew up with an admiration for women whose figures were always going to be better than mine and who were prettier, taller (I am 1.50 meters and , I think, I’m now starting to shrink ), and quite more beautiful than I could ever hope to be.
I always admire them. Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Aniston, Penelope Cruz – I can only sit back and marvel at the luck of the draw. And admire.
Yes, they all have natural beauty, but they also wear makeup for their respective jobs, and they’re a hell of a lot more attractive for doing it. I don’t go to a concert or watch television to see the banality of my everyday appearance reflected on me.
I don’t want to see Dame Joan Collins without her wig and makeup; it could be quite terrifying. I want her to be the superstar she is and no matter how long she takes to paint over her vamp. She’s old-fashioned glamor – and that’s an uplifting concept in a depressing time. If I wanted to watch Planet of the Apes, I would download it.
Like many women, I feel better when I’ve had my hair done, put on makeup, and dressed well. I know plenty of men who feel the same way (makeup included) – watch Ru Paul’s Drag Race, the most brilliant show that celebrates the art of make-up and costume – and swimwear, I might add (and I will certainly never be as magnificent as these guys).
Like it or not, the beauty industry is huge, because most of us don’t have “natural beauty”; nor do we have correct, let alone perfect, numbers. Mélissa Raouf is 20 years old; she has high cheekbones and is, clearly, that elusive thing called a natural beauty. If only we were so lucky.
But we are not. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever,” said the great romantic poet, John Keats. “Her beauty increases; it will never pass into nothingness.’ Amen to that. So let’s continue to enjoy beauty, especially in a time when there is so much ugliness in the world.
And Ru Paul – keep those swimsuits coming.