The great pageant debate

I felt the need to respond once again about this pageant controversy.  To be quite honest the topic makes me laugh, mostly because this debate could go on forever. 

And to address the hair topic, that is a matter of personal preference.  The fourth runner up at Miss Illinois USA 2009 had short hair (She was Miss Teen Illinois USA 2004).  The funny and beautiful Stephanie, Miss South Carolina USA 2009, had short hair.  She advanced to the top 10 at Miss USA.  Some people like short hair and some don't.  You can advance in a pageant with short hair.   

Yes, when Jen was in the pageant it was proven that it was rigged.  Therefore, it was inappropriate to take contestants money knowing that they never had a chance to advance.  The Miss Illinois USA pageant has worked very hard over the last few years to ensure a fair competition.  There really is not much else to say on that matter. 

Reality is the Miss Universe Organization, which owns the Miss USA system and franchises all the states, is a business.  It is a business owned by NBC and Donald Trump.  Do I agree with all of the decisions that this business or any other business makes for that matter?  No.  But it is an organization that has provided me a once in a lifetime opportunity.  And for that I will be forever grateful. 

In television there is only a small amount of time to express everything you are trying to get across to an audience.  When you only have an hour and 40min. to show 51-80+ women in a competition, you lose the ability to truly show all of the wonderful things these women do.  However, they have to show you the categories that the competition is based on. 

I can see why many people may think pageants are degrading to women.  We do walk on a stage in heels and a swimsuit.  (I have to note that fitness competitions do many similar things as well).  However, most of these women have talents beyond one could ever imagine; beautiful voices, thriving businesses, musical talent, intelligence beyond belief, etc.  The list is really endless.

There will always be the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, the Victoria's Secret fashion shows (which is one of the highest rated television events) and other events for little girls to see women in.  I think it is important for us to teach girls that no matter what they want to do in their life, whether it be; pageants, dance class, law school, journalism, own their own business, that it takes hard work and dedication above all else.  And that the women in these events have a whole other side to them that you don't get to see from a picture or a television.   

The women in these pageants did not get there without working hard.  These women, myself included, have merely chosen a path that we felt was right for us.  A path, (if you truly think about it), that takes just as many barriers to overcome as others.

I personally just don't view the pageant the same way Jen does.  Whether a woman's breasts in the pageant are real or fake, does that really matter?  Does it matter if they have boobs at all or they don't?  It is a competition that is 1/3 based on how one looks in a swimsuit.  Both men and women judge these pageants and give their vote.  It is essentially about what they want.  

I have to ask, why should the women that choose to change their appearance be judged so harshly?  I don't see any of them running around promoting aesthetic plastic surgery to little girls, or ridiculing people that choose not to have plastic surgery.  It is the media and others who put such a focus on it.  It is a choice just like anything else in life.  You don't have to agree with it, just like I don't have to agree with people's opinion.  I don't like certain genres of movies, so I don't watch them.  Does that mean they shouldn't exist? 

Jen mentioned that having a tummy tuck and getting breast implants is not the same.  No I have not been pregnant and had a very large baby.  I can however, understand what kind of toll that takes on a body.  One might choose a tummy tuck to get their body to look the way they like it. A tummy tuck is a choice.  It is a choice to make ones self look and feel better.  Don't you think that's what these women think when they alter their breasts?  It is a choice, just like a tummy tuck.  And going even further, both surgeries alter the way one looks in a bathing suit (kind of ironic, haha).  They are both aesthetic plastic surgeries that people choose to have to change the way their body naturally looks.  Some people think they're not the same thing, I do. 

But like I said, there are some things people will never agree on.       

Have a great day, Chicago.

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    Ashley Bond

    I am a personal trainer, Chicago Luvabull, Miss Illinois USA 2009 and actress. I contribute to the Red Eye Chicago 5 on 5 and Bulls TV. I am also the host of POWERADE ZERO Fit Club. I have a passion for fitness, dance, sports and philanthropy. I love this city and I'm ready to get you motivated and healthy!

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