John Oliver Expertly Breaks Down Everything Wrong With Beauty Pageants


Beauty Pageants, they’re a dime a dozen, but more importantly, they hold a certain stigma about the representation of women in the 21st century. We’ve shared plenty of articles about different types of pageants which try to break down said stigma and which aim to show a woman’s worth isn’t just about their physical appearance, but also about values, intelligence and creativity.

On ‘Last Week Tonight’ with John Oliver, the hilarious British host and comedian decided to have a crack and breaking down what is inherently wrong with beauty pageants, and he focused on Miss America in particular as the 2014 pageant just took place.

As you watch the video below you will learn some pretty interesting things. First, (which comes as no surprise) the objectification of women hasn’t exactly changed and the fact that these types of pageants want to promote positive female role models is somewhat marred by they continual emphasis on physical beauty.

The second thing we were shocked to learn was that the pageant annually makes available $45 million USD for scholarships for women, making them the largest female scholarship provider in the United States. Now before you go “wow that’s amazing!” there are some other complicated details that John Oliver and his team fact-checked because it is not all as it seems. Which is a damn shame because a beauty pageant claiming such a grand statement would actually go a long way to promoting female empowerment.

Sure, they still provide more money than a few of the other well-known female-only scholarship programs, but its very telling to know that there aren’t more initiatives dedicated to educating women and giving them a helping hand. The fact that a beauty pageant is considered to be leading the way doesn’t exactly send the best message. Why? Because you still have to pass their rigorous and superficial physical tests to even be considered for one of these elusive scholarships. And that sucks!

When we start valuing women for something other than their physical appearance, and stop using that as the “gateway” to determining other things that are good about them (i.e., intelligence, creativity, friendliness, leadership etc etc) we might start to see a radical shift in the way gender stereotypes are defined and perpetuated. But hey maybe that’s just us thinking a little too revolutionary!

At the end of John Oliver’s awesome video below, he enlists the help of comedian Kathy Griffin for a bit of role reversal to put John up against a male model called Giuseppe to point out just how ridiculous it is that physical appearance is the benchmark or measure for any sort of human value.

Enjoy and pass this on to all your friends!



One Comment

  1. Pingback: Ugandan Army Gives The 'Miss Uganda' Beauty Pageant A Radical Makeover

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