Miss England Organizers Says Beauty Pageants Promote Role Models


First off, we know how cold England can be, so bravo to those ladies for wearing bikinis and frolicking around in what was no doubt very cold water!

June 2014 will see a new Miss England crowned, who will then go on to compete in the Miss World finals later this year. The contenders for the 2014 title all posed for photos for the bikini round of the pageant in Devon.

While beauty pageants these days are certainly evolving and presenting a completely different side of the beauty industry and fashion, there are still some whose attitudes are very old fashioned and negative toward the competition.

The finals will be held in Torquay in June, where last year a local MP named Adrian Sanders said the Miss England pageant was an “own goal” for women. That’s soccer speak for scoring the wrong type of goal which gives the other team a point.

While he is certainly not alone in his views, perhaps it is time the general public did have a closer look at what beauty pageants promote these days.

Yes, we can’t seem to escape or get rid of the all too familiar bikini round, which of course reinforces that beauty is solely about physical looks. But that’s where the superficiality ends, as far as Miss England organizers are concerned.

Director Angela Beasley said accusations that the contest was inappropriate and degrading were out dated and old fashioned.

“Modeling competition are about just looks alone. Miss England is about being a good all-rounder, and a good role model,” she said. This year the competition received 20,000 girls apply to enter the competition.

“We’ve come a long way from girls just turning up with their heels and swimsuit and walking on a catwalk to be judged,” she told the Daily Mail.

There are three other rounds in the competition which girls must take part in. They are the charity round, the fitness round, and the eco-fashion round.

The girls have the chance to contribute and raise money for charity, something that prepares them for the year ahead if they win. They also have to design their own dress using eco-friendly materials, which is a great way to promote eco-conscious fashion.

A previous Miss England Winner, Charlotte Holmes said old-fashioned attitudes like that of Adrian Sanders is exactly the sort of stereotyped view that the Miss England girls and other beauty pageants are working to fight against.

Some of the girls in this year’s finalist list include Carina Tyrell, a medical student from Cambridge University, psychology graduate Leanne Carroll from Cheshire, and Emma Smith from Cornwall who says she was bullied at school for having a lazy eye, but is now a med school student.

These girls represent the new breed of women who Miss England want to elevate as role models for other women.

“When people stop applying to be a role model then we’ll stop holding the competition,” said Angela Beasley.

Former Miss England 2003 Jackie Turner has used her platform to be an advocate for anti-bullying, and says the competition opens up so many more opportunities for girls that they may not have always gotten in society.

“Pageants have such negative press. I want to change that, young girls should be able to be successful and excel in their own right doing something they love,” she said.

2013 Miss England winner Kirsty Heslewood who has spent the last year traveling around the world working for various charities, says the competition is now dedicated to promoting positive things.

“It’s completely changed from how it used to be. I feel it empowers women to do good things for their country, their communities, and be good role models.”

While it is still hard to shake of years of ingrained stigma about beauty pageants and the women who enter them, they aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Miss England are just one pageant among many that are trying to show a new side to the industry which places just as much, if not more, emphasis on other attributes that women possess. It is an uphill battle and one that has divided many in the feminist community, but if celebrity can be used as currency and as a platform, why can’t physical beauty?



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