Let you be the judge of you

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Once a year, award-winning and nationally recognized health and sexuality writer August McLaughlin invites bloggers to participate in her Beauty of a Woman BlogFest. This year’s, BlogFest VI, happens the week of March 6-11. Fittingly, International Women’s Day (March 8) falls right in the middle.

I don’t regularly write about women and beauty but I always welcome the opportunity to do so as part of August’s wonderful roundup. To read more entries, and potentially win a fun prize, visit the fest page between 9 a.m. today and 11 p.m. March 11th (PST).

BlogFest logoAn alien in the world of femininity

Sometimes I feel like an alien life form. I’m female, yet I have no interest in most of the stereotypical outer trappings of femininity: lipstick, wrinkle cream (or, I should say, anti-wrinkle cream), high heels. What interests me is the inner experience of being female, which often includes an experience of both the feminine and masculine traits embodied by every one of us, no matter our gender.

Needless to say, my outlook leaves me baffled when it comes to the five-billion-dollar beauty pageant industry. What would possess a woman (and yes, they are all women, unless you look at the equally bizarre world of Mr. Universe) to focus exclusively on her physical form, her outward appearance, her corporeal manifestation? And then put it forth to be judged?

I know pageants these days are supposed to be about the whole person. Contestants talk about their charitable work and their intellectual aspirations; there are pageants for women who don’t conform to our cultural ideal of beauty. And there are women who find pageants to be positive experiences.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the industry is the trickle-down effect, whereby young children—usually before the age of consent and before they can comprehend concepts such as inner and outer beauty—are drawn into the pageant world by their parents.

Then again, there’s the TransNation Queen USA Trans Beauty Pageant, which slyly co-opts the standard cisgender pageant script.

Announcing the Inner Beauty Pageant

So here’s a different kind of pageant. You can enter it without leaving your home or your chair. Skip the lip gloss and bathing suit and get straight to what makes you beautiful on the inside by taking part in the Inner Beauty Pageant. Best of all, you can be the judge.

The criteria are:

  1. Have your eyes gazed on suffering?
  2. Have your cheekbones hosted tears shed for our human condition?
  3. Has your hair blown in the wind of a fierce storm?
  4. Have your arms lifted heavy burdens?
  5. Have your hands soothed a child, prepared a meal, buried the dead?
  6. Have your breasts ached for your sisters who have lost theirs to cancer?
  7. Has your waist folded in two as you bent to retrieve a stranger’s lost treasure for them?
  8. Have your legs carried you to places of darkness and back again?
  9. Have your feet worn the shoes of the homeless woman huddled over the grate?
  10. Has your mind made peace with your body’s short time on this earth?

If you answered yes to even one or two of these questions, you are a beauty queen in my book.

Past Beauty of a Woman BlogFest posts
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34 thoughts on “Let you be the judge of you

  1. I have never, ever, ever understood the pageant industry, or the people who participate in them. Some of whom are close friends of mine.

    I think that the criterion you listed for winning the inner beauty pageant all come together to define a person with grit. And grit is sexy as hell.

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  2. I admit it. There was a time when I wanted to be Miss America. Why? Because when I was younger I used to love the talent portion, and I loved the tiaras…pearls are my birthstone. Strangely enough, I’m not the stereotypical female. I rarely, if ever, wear makeup. I don’t dress up. I hate to shop. But I thought adult pageants for scholarships or being able to share your platform and make a change on a national level was cool. Still, I never understood the appeal in the child pageants.

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  3. I am always so horrified at children’s beauty pageants… although I find adult pageants offensive, I just don’t watch, and they are old enough to make their own decisions.
    I LOVE the “Inner Beauty Pageant” idea! That is true beauty to me, as well.

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  4. I feel like an alien life form too. It’s more fun that way (and much less treacherous when we don’t wear high heels). I love that quote and I’d love to see a world where inner beauty is valued more than outer beauty. Maybe someday.

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  5. Thanks for this post. I never understood the pageants, especially for little girls. I’m an inner beauty queen, for sure. My daughters are, too. I’ve raised them to love themselves for who they are and not for what everyone thinks they should be.

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  6. An inner beauty pageant — what an awesome idea, and I love your list of criteria. Ha, I’m a beauty queen!! My mother would be so proud. (She could have said yes to several of your criteria as well.) And I think I’m going to pass this post on to my daughter-in-law, who is also an inner beauty queen for sure.

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  7. I love this, Audrey! Many cheers for the inner beauty pageant. Kid pageants concern me deeply; what an incredible alternative that would be.

    Thanks so much for joining us again! You’re a queen in my book, too. 🙂

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  8. I loved the trans pageant the best. As the mother of a sassy, fierce, independent twelve-year-old girl who owns herself, the kids’ pageant struck me as being, in many cases, more about the parents than the girls, with the exception of the one mom who told her daughter that she could walk away if she wanted.

    By your criteria, I am indeed a beauty queen.

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  9. Oh, Audrey, that heart of yours! This is such a thoughtful post–so timely–in this time of a country divided on almost any topic, beauty especially. Yet your post gives us the only beauty pageant ever necessary. Teared me up, this beauty of yours. Thank you.
    Karen

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  10. This post is so moving, Audrey. And I adore your Inner Beauty Contest, from the empathetic eyes to the nurturing hands, to the feet that walk in others’ shoes. Fantastic addition to BOAW17!

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  11. What a very unique post, Audrey. I too don’t understand the children’s beauty contest. After all they hardly ever have a say in it. I think it’s quite dangerous and sad. At least the grown ups can decide for themselves whether they want to be shown around like price-cows… but however… I want to thank you for making me a beauty queen for the first time in my life!

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  12. Oh, this is so beautiful! Thank you for the Inner Beauty Contest…I think we ALL need to take stock of ourselves with that perfect list of criteria.

    Like

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