First let us know what exactly does womanhood means? Womanhood’ means ‘qualities traditionally possessed by a woman’. Here, I’m just discussing about India.
But, before discussing traditional quality of woman in Indian cultures, first talk about beauty contest. Beauty contest is a competition in which young ladies participate. There are various rounds for elimination like swimsuit round, evening gown round, personality test round and finally question answer round. After all these rounds the winner is the one who is the most beautiful but also most intelligent. Not to say, these contests target beauty with the brain or simply ‘a smart woman’.
In most of the beauty contests in India, there is no swimsuit round, the round which is the most in question and some say is a vulgar round. So, those contests which have just normal personality test round or question answer round can’t be even considered as degrading womanhood.
But yes, national level contests have all the rounds mentioned by me. Now, just think about it, almost all women participating in swimsuit are used to with swimming or swimming costume. And, they don’t swim in private. They swim in public in front of other males. How swimming in a contest can degrade womanhood but not swimming in public?
Let’s talk about culture; many argue that beauty contests are against Indian culture. But, what is Indian culture? Indian culture of the past also included child marriage, sati system, dowry system and prohibition of widow remarriage. Some of it is still in practice.
Apart from this, womanhood aka traditional qualities possessed by women are being an idle wife, who don’t argue with husband, produce and care children, don’t interfere in monetary matters, and doesn’t talk with other men, stays in home and above all possess shyness. But, now a day, boundaries of womanhood is more flexible and expanded. Woman is now becoming equal part of family. They are earning, working and even managing companies and countries. So, we can’t argue about degradation of womanhood taking medieval time’s definition. We have to take present time’s example.
Beauty contest are in no way altering womanhood in modern era. You may take the example of Aishwarya Rai. She had won Miss World contest in 1994. She was also awarded by Miss Photogenic by Miss World organization. After that for one year she toured all around the world for welfare programs organized by the organization. What she gave back to India is no shame from the world. But, name and fame that Indian women are also among the most beautiful. She appeared in Bollywood, married to Abhishek Bachchan. In no way she had degraded image of Indian women. I’m very much sure, no one sitting here had even saw the swimsuit round photo of Aishwarya Rai. I have. It’s on my desktop. We never say that Aishwarya Rai had once participated in swimsuit round. We just remember her as the most beautiful woman of the planet.
Miss India in present time is just a talent hunt for becoming models. Those who most care about all the news and updates about Miss India contest are mainly associated with fashion world. We don’t even know in which month every year Miss India contest is been organized. So, where is the point of degradation of womanhood? If the public is not even interest how can it degrade their moral values?
No one sitting here can say that Beauty contest upgrade womanhood. So, Beauty contest neither upgrade nor degrade womanhood. Simply saying there is no relation between beauty contests and womanhood.