How the Miss Universe unhealthy beauty standards affect today's women
Watching the video of Miss Universe contestants over the years exposes the unhealthy beauty standards today's women are held to.
The video is part of a study commissioned by Superdrug Online Doctor to expose how unattainable—and unhealthy—today's appearance standards are.
It's truly eye-opening to see the change in winners' bodies throughout the 63 years of the pageant, not to mention the clothes gradually falling off layer by layer to reveal yet more of their ever-shrinking frames.
As time progresses, the stomachs become noticeably flatter, the arms more toned, the contestants taller, and much, much thinner.
So much thinner.
The study is made all the more interesting by the data comparing contestants weight and body mass to that of average women throughout the same time period.
Case in point, there's been a sharp rise in obesity when it comes to the average woman, but an ever declining BMI among the Miss Universe contestants.
The Body Mass Index was created to measure the degree of obesity of the general population.
It's calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in meters squared to give a measure of an individual's body fat.
When the pageant first started in 1952, contestants and average women were pretty evenly matched, with a BMI of around 20.
But the study shows a steady increase in BMI for average women—up to the current level of over 28.
Whereas the Miss Universe contestants' BMI has steadily fallen—to today's level of below 18.
Some would argue the rise in obesity is down to laziness, or women “letting themselves go" but Superdrug Online Doctor argues poor body image could actually be one of the greatest factors.
They cite a study that shows teen girls suffering from poor body image actually gain markedly more weight than their body-positive peers.
And argue that “negative feelings do not trigger healthy behaviors."
The study focusing on Miss Universe contestants' weight throughout the pageant's history is even more startling though.
Back in 1952, the average woman actually weighed significantly less than contestants.
The average woman was 105 pounds, compared to contestants' at over 120 pounds.
During the past 63 years however, the weight of average women has climbed to over 170 pounds.
Whereas contestants' weight has stayed the same—even though their height has increased significantly.
Average women have remained at a height of 5ft 3" but contestants have shot up from 5ft 5" to today's height of 5ft 9".
Miss Universe was founded by the Pacific Knitting Mills clothing company. It's held in 190 countries worldwide and watched by more than half a billion people annually.
It's been the subject of controversy right from the get-go, after the first winner, 17-year-old Armi Kuusela of Finland, handed back her sash and crown after ten months so she could marry her fiancé.
There was a jaw dropping moment during the 1969 pageant, when Miss Austria Eva von Rueber-Staier, lauded Mao Tse-tung as the greatest historical figure in the world.
And, a truly cringe-worthy four minutes after host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia the 2015 winner, instead of Miss Philippines.
But, perhaps the most controversial of all, was back in 1996, when Miss Venezuela, Alicia Machado, was warned by the organization that she was gaining too much weight and was in danger of losing her crown.
However, the Miss Universe Organization denies they objectify women and promote unattainable beauty standards.
They insist they're actually all about “empowering women".
The Miss Universe Organization empowers women to develop the confidence they need to achieve their personal best. A confident woman has the power to make real change, starting in her local community with the potential to reach a global audience.
We encourage every woman to get out of her comfort zone, be herself, and continue to define what it means to be Confidently Beautiful.
Declaring their mission is:
To provide the tools which help women to be their personal best. Self-confidence is the key.
Every woman should have the confidence to stand up in any situation and declare, "I am secure and that's what makes me beautiful!"
However, mandatory weigh-ins are part of the pageant process and it will come as little surprise that one judge openly admits it's all about the beauty when it comes to winning the crown.
Scott Lazerson told Forbes:
Beauty, beauty, beauty. It's all about beauty. But read their bios. Every single one of them is smart too.
So very empowering.
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Watch the Miss Universe unhealthy beauty standards video:
Miss Universe unhealthy beauty standards
Miss Universe unhealthy beauty standards