When I told people I would be competing in Miss GB most people’s reaction was surprise, usually followed by a comment like “I didn’t know those things were still going!?”. Well having competed in Miss London City and then moved on to compete at Miss GB, I can assure the reader that these competitions are very much still going, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done.
When I learned that after the event itself a group of feminist protestors egged our hotel, I was really taken aback. This experience had been so empowering, and such a fantastic celebration of femininity, that I don’t think I hadNever felt more like a woman, and more feminine than during Miss GB. So I am writing this to explain to those who sympathise with those feminist protestors’ view point, why I believe their stance is wrong and anti-feminine, and why conversely, competing in pageants is one of the most accessible feminist opportunities available for young women in the 21st century.
History of women’s rights. Most of the girls I met at Miss GB were competing in order to improve their confidence and self belief. This is something which is personal to us all, and we all have different ways which help build our confidence, and this was their’s. Considering women have spent millenia, across different civilisations and religious authorities experiencing oppression, it strikes me as odd that now that we have equal rights and are recognised as having value in ourselves, as opposed to value as being someone’s wife or daughter, that those calling themselves feminists would protest against this avenue for women to be themselves and celebrate their own femininity with complete freedom.
Celebrating differences. The ladies competing in Miss GB were of all shapes and sizes, all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds; this was an event which celebrated so many different ways to be ‘female’.
Freedom of Expression. The same rights which allowed those ladies calling themselves feminist to protest against Miss GB, are the same rights which allowed those to competing to get up in stage and talk about the charities and platforms which they were seeking to promote. We must respect each other’s rights to expression.
Feminism is about women being able to be themselves. imageNow that those women who have gone before us have succeeded in fighting the view that there’s a single ideal of what women should look and behave like. I believe feminism in the 21st century should be promoting women’s freedom to be whatever version of femininity they choose, to celebrate their freedom of expression, and most of all to allow for diversity of beliefs, choices and aspirations of our fellow members of the female gender.
I ended up coming 8th in Miss GB, raised £1500 for Cancer Reserch UK and gained the memory of an experience which will last a lifetime. Bring on the next competition!