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7. Concluding remarks
It is clear that it is not possible to come up with objective criteria that are sufficiently exacting for the purposes of comparing the attractiveness of women from different geographic populations in beauty pageants. Therefore, what exactly is going on in contemporary international beauty pageants? Whatever is going on, it obviously has little to do with beauty, not only because of the meaninglessness of cross-ethnic comparisons, but also because a) the contestants are partly ranked on how well they answer questions and b) the prevalence of masculinized women in these pageants is high, with some women even looking like male transvestites. Some problems in contemporary beauty pageants are illustrated in Fig 1.
Fig 1: It is common to see beauty-pageant contestants with masculine faces and masculinized skeletal proportions. For instance, among the two Miss World Australia (2005) contestants shown on top, specifically from the Miss Hunter Valley (New South Wales) pageant, Alanna Vanderveen (left) was crowned Miss Hunter Valley and Hollie Schultz (right) was awarded 1st runner up, whereas given the facial masculinization of Ms. Vanderveen, she should not have been participating in the first place. On the other hand, the picture at the bottom, taken from the 2005 Miss World South Australia Finals (shown from left to right: Collette Brown, Susie Collins (winner) and Kimberly Wanganeen), shows the depths to which political correctness will sink a beauty contest to, namely allowing a person who cannot be easily assigned to the male or female sex via a visual examination of the face to not only participate but end up being ranked as well!
Can anything be done to salvage beauty pageants in so far as an emphasis on attractiveness is concerned? Yes, a few things can be done.
True beauty contests simply have to be ethnicity specific, and there are indeed plenty of ethnicity-specific beauty pageants, some examples of which include Miss Black America, Miss Asian America, Miss India-Canada, Miss Pakistan-Canada, and the Miss Latina U.S. pageant, which can be as specific as Miss Mexico U.S. Latina, Miss Teen Mexico U.S. Latina, Miss Colombia U.S. Latina, Miss Guatemala U.S. Latina, etc. There is even a Miss Gay America for men. However, given the political environment in the U.S., it is not presently possible to have a Miss White America contest, let alone a Miss Nordic-white America, Miss Slavic-white America or Miss Alpine-white America, but the organizers of the aforementioned ethnicity-specific pageants could certainly take steps toward the application of more exacting aesthetic standards in selecting their contestants and winners.
International beauty pageants should ideally comprise of a series of ethnicity-specific mini-pageants, followed by a grand finale that will decide on a Miss Personality, the participants of which will comprise of the top-ranked contestants of the ethnicity-specific mini-pageants. Since personality is a combination of looks and non-looks factors, a Miss Personality winner can be from any ethnicity without creating the problem of an objective comparison of attractiveness across populations.
Of course, contemporary beauty pageants are strictly speaking not beauty pageants but personality pageants, instead. Hence, it may not seem that proposing a Miss Personality grand finale in international beauty pageants is something that is different from what is presently going on, but since it is clear that a proper beauty contest can only be ethnicity-specific, ethnicity-specific mini-pageants will allow one to apply highly exacting aesthetic criteria and thereby select extremely good looking women from their respective ethnic groups. Thus, the grand finale will comprise of some of the best looking women from their respective ethnic groups. On a similar vein, it is obvious that ranking participants on how well they answer questions deemphasizes physical attractiveness, which is undesirable. The solution to this problem is to select only highly attractive contestants and rank them on both looks and how well they answer questions, but use the answers to determine a winner only in cases where the contestants tie for overall looks score. If all contestants in an ethnicity-specific mini-pageant are highly attractive, then it is inevitable that a number of them will tie for overall looks score, and thus using personality or talent factors as tie-breakers will not be terribly unjust as far as the main emphasis in beauty pageants should go, i.e., looks, and ranking contestants on personality and talent factors will of course provide enough entertainment to engross the audience.
The most important thing to do to facilitate the selection of highly attractive beauty pageant contestants is to remove the influence of male homosexuals in beauty pageants, i.e., not select masculinized contestants. Then, correlates of beauty other than the extent of femininity can be applied, in accordance with the prior discussion. A combination of feminine contestants, ethnicity-specific mini-pageants in order to emphasize exacting aesthetic criteria, and using non-looks factors as tie breakers only will allow one to have pageants that approach true beauty pageants.
A problem with ethnicity-specific mini-pageants is a trade off between assignment to the best-fit ethnic group and feasibility; the former requiring more groups than the latter. For instance, one could have the following 8 groupings: 1) Northern and Central Europe; 2) Southern Europe, Mid-East, North Africa; 3) Northeast Asia; 4) Southeast Asia; 5) South Asia, South America; 6) sub-Saharan Africa; 7) Native American, Eskimo, Siberian, Polynesian; and 8) Melanesian, Australian aborigine and other aborigines in southeast Asia. The typical international beauty pageant will only deal with the first six groups, and if Australo-Melanesians and related aborigines are present, then it would be reasonable to group them with the sub-Saharan Africans. On the other hand, four groups are probably the minimum that one would need: Europe, East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and a heterogeneous group ranging from South America through the Mediterranean/Mid-East to South Asia. Obviously, the placement of a contestant in one of these groups will be based on looks, not nationality.
In multi-ethnic nations, like the U.S., the national beauty pageant will be the equivalent of an international beauty pageant, but as of present, only one person represents each nation in an international beauty pageant. Thus, the U.S. would have to deal with selecting one representative among different ethnic groups, but this problem can be solved by allowing each nation 4 candidates in any of the population groupings. Thus, a nation such as Estonia may file all 4 candidates in the Northern European group whereas the U.S. may file the 4 candidates in different ethnic groups. This will also ensure that there are a sufficient number of contestants in each of the population groupings.
Multi-ethnic nations do not necessarily have equal numbers of different ethnic groups. Thus, for instance, if the proportions of 4 ethnic groups are in the ratio A:B:C:D = 10:3:2:5, then over every 5 international beauty pageants contests, i.e., a total of 20 contestants, the multi-ethnic country will send, on average, 10 contestants from group A, 3 from B, 2 from C and 5 from D.
It is necessary to remove political considerations in order to emphasize physical attractiveness. The only guaranteed ways to go about this are to either use computers or children (less than 10-years-old) to judge physical attractiveness. The problem with computer-based judgment -- i.e., determining goodness of fit with a detailed three dimensional template -- is that one would be accused of rigging the computer to emphasize a specific type of looks. The problem with using children concerns ethical issues in having them judge the physique of bikini-clad contestants. Thus, if children are used, they should be used to judge facial attractiveness only. Since adult judges will be rating the contestants on talent and how well they answer questions, they might as well rate their physiques, or computers could be used for this purpose since there is likely to be greater agreement as to an attractive physique and thereby less controversy over machine-based judgment. If adult judges are used to rate the physique of the contestants, people known to be homosexual or bisexual should be avoided so as to emphasize feminine looks in pageant winners.
Needless to add, none of these recommendations will be implemented in international beauty pageants anytime soon, if ever. To emphasize beauty in beauty pageants is to antagonize the general female population and especially feminists and religious fundamentalists. International beauty pageants also require corporate sponsorship to cover costs, which translates to ties with the fashion and cosmetics world, and since the top ranks of the fashion business are dominated by homosexual men, one will not see very many feminine beauty pageant contestants from Western nations. Therefore, present international beauty pageants are not in a position to emphasize beauty.
However, the already-low popularity of beauty pageants in the West will drop further as the Western public becomes better informed of the nature of contemporary beauty pageants, and futuristic technology comprising of more powerful computers, a much faster internet and cheaper three-dimensional photography will allow some neat beauty pageants to take place over the internet. These contests will be free of political considerations, masculinized and/or unattractive contestants will never be seen except for a few slightly masculinized women provided that they have fine facial features, and except for at most a few attractive women, the contestants will be very attractive. And, there is nothing that feminists, religious fundamentalists or male homosexual fashion designers could do about these contests. It will be interesting to see what Miss World Organization, Miss Universe Inc., Miss America Inc. and similar organizations will do then.