“Here She Comes… Miss Angina!” Why using your brains isn’t always clever…

princess-crown-1416509Yesterday on Facebook, I found myself feeling a little judgemental about one of my friend’s posts.

He had posted a video about how his company was sponsoring a local beauty pageant this year.

“Oh dear”, I thought “Does this shit still go on in 2016?”

Although I’m not a staunch feminist – I wear make-up and thank gentlemen who open doors for me rather than spit on them – I do believe that women should be valued for more than the way they look.  It bothers me the amount of pressure young girls are under to appear flawlessly beautiful and slim.

However, whenever I get judgemental, I always like to have a little word with myself and look for the other sides of the argument.

The girls who enter these pageants often launch successful careers off the back of their success.  Why should we judge anyone who uses their strengths to make a living?  Yes, beauty is only skin deep, but there is a massive industry that employs individuals whom other people, like you and me, like to look at.

Or look at it this way; you don’t have to use your brain to be a top athlete either, but people don’t look down their noses at Jessica Ennis-Hill for not using her psychology degree to earn a living.

The crucial point anyone entering these competitions needs to consider is that they don’t define themselves solely on the way they look.  They need balance in their lives, and they need to appreciate all aspects of themselves, so when their looks fade their self confidence remains.

And that need for balance is not just reserved for beauty queens:

In my work as a coach, I have been privy to the struggles faced by top executives, and I can tell you that many of them are completely shagged up the arse by the companies they work for.  The demanding lifestyle they lead causes multiple marriage breaks-ups and health problems, but because they define themselves by their careers, they keep bending over and taking it.

Just because they have an MBA, it doesn’t make them any less likely to be treated like disposable objects.  There is always someone waiting to pounce into their warm leather chair when they break.

Their self-esteem should not be dependent on hitting sales targets, any more than Miss UK’s should be dependent on the way she looks in a bikini.

Sadly, however, prostituting yourself for your career in business is more socially acceptable – and even admired.

I personally think that’s more fucked-up than strutting your stuff in swimwear to earn a crown, because you are supposedly earning your crust with your brains.

If my daughter had a choice between being a beauty queen with high self-esteem, great health and great relationships or being a highly-paid executive who never sees her kids, on marriage number four with a stress-related heart condition, I’d get her into that gold bikini quicker than she could say “World Peace”.

So – be beautiful and/or clever and/or good at the 100m hurdles, but above all be balanced and show love to yourself and the people you care about.

That’s the true definition of success.