They are designed to promote self-esteem, encourage women all over the world to gain poise and confidence through competing and meeting other girls. Beauty pageants are made to cultivate a woman`s talents, giving her effective communication skills, leading her into the world prepared and ready. However, like the name, it is a contest that mainly focuses on physical appearance and even with a good personality; a physical flaw would be your downfall. Young women all over the world are striving to lose enough weight to win a beauty pageant – and this ‘thin’ ideal has spread to other parts of the world. A John Hopkins study published found that more than half of Miss Americas after 1970 have had a body Mass Index below 18.5, placing them in the undernourished range according to the World Health Organization which defines 20-25 as the norm. ‘Thin embodiments like these promoted by Miss America’s and the like reach countries where millions of girls and women suffer from eating disorders, and tens of millions of women are placed under the heavy pressure to think of themselves as unattractive or overweight when they are neither. A recent Harvard study of Fijian schoolgirls found that vomiting for weight control quintupled within 38 months after Western television was introduced into that culture. International beauty pageants and Miss Universe have all contributed to that trend. “Beauty pageants, like the rest of our media-driven culture, give young women in particular a message, over and over again, that it's exceedingly important to be thin to be considered successful and attractive," said Dr. Harry Brandt, director of the Center for Eating Disorders at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, Md.
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