Cheating Beauties

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Cheating Beauty?
Beauty Pageant is a competition based on the women’s physical beauty. Sometimes clothing, modeling, gesturing, talent and personal interview are considered for choosing a winner, the beauty queen. Every contestant will try to enhance her make-up skill, hairstyle, body shape, and even knowledge of the world in order to have the best performance and accomplish the final stage of the competition. Doing cosmetic surgery is one kind of methods to “modify” one’s flaw and achieve the perfect look. According to Plastic Surgery Review, Charlene Smith, the spokesperson for Miss Universe Canada, has an estimation of 80 percent of the participants having some type of cosmetic surgery, but the real figure is a secret. Since the public will never be wise enough to tell who have done it and no one are required to expose their little secret, cosmetic surgery is actually permitted in any beauty pageants. However, in an ethical perspective, it is immoral to use cosmetic surgery, an artificial enhancement of appearance, to increase the chances of winning in a beauty pageant because it’s a form of cheating. In order to comprehend deeply more about the immorality of cheating, there are two philosophers, Immanuel Kant and Alasdair MacIntyre, from the earlier age addressing their theory and opinion on ethics and virtue and implying the immorality of behaviors such as lying and cheating. Immanuel Kant illustrated the principle of the moral duty, which was based on the motive of self-interests, by addressing the categorical imperatives. In Kant’s theory of ethics, “good will”, the will that was acted according to duty, determines the morality of an action. As Kant stated, “act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law” (G 4:421), every action must be questioned on the possibility of becoming universal. For example, if conceiving became universalized, lying itself is going to be contradicted because the trust will collapse. It is meaningless if you lied to people and you received lies back from them. Moreover, Kant opposed the theory of utilitarianism with “The Kingdom of Ends Formula” and “The Autonomy Formula”. According to SEP, Kant addressed that “our fundamental moral obligation is to act only on principles which could earn acceptance by a community of fully rational agents each of whom have an equal share in legislating these principles for their community.” We ought not to use a person as a mean, but as an end of itself because if we did, we are depriving the right of his/her own decision. Another philosopher, Alasdair MacIntyre, explained his concept of a practice in After Virtue with a demonstration of a child playing chess. If cheating in the game, the child may enjoy the excitement of winning; however, “Cheating to win will, from this point on, be a form of losing, not winning.” (MacIntyre) The essence of joy is from the consequence after a practice of a development of one’s skill and ability. The pleasure cannot be come and replace by cheating in order to win. The result of a chess game can benefit both winner and loser, in external goods and internal goods, but “cheating and exploitation are frequent, and this damages the community as a whole.” (After Virtue 190-191) The essential question is what cheating is and how does it differ from lying. Cheating is basically acting dishonestly for the sake of gaining advantage, which causes a game or a competition unfair. Different from cheating, lying is deceiving something, hiding the truth. In the scenario of a beauty contest, the contestants who have done cosmetic surgery are lying on their appearance of who they are. Since cosmetic surgeries have changed their natural look and they are not the same person they were, their new figure showing a fake image to people instead of revealing the original natural beauty. Most of time, placing a lie turns to become a form of...
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