For many people beauty contests are arbitrary and old-fashioned: parading women exposing their body like cattle is an idea that feminists condemn as inappropriate. All these pageants can be described as an attempt to form the contemporary definition of beauty. Although these events are obviously interesting spectacles, many of us do not like the idea our beauty to be measured against some beauty standards set by the current culture.
Just like with everything, we change our criteria about the beautiful body too. Probably for that reason a lot of bizare beauty competitions have appeared which challenge traditional views and ideas of beauty. Generally, these strange contests can be divided into smaller categories:
- measuring beauty with unusual devices, like X-rays
- challenges concepts of traditional beauty contests, like Miss Fat pageants or the most attractive ape
- bizarre beauty competitions which focus on a particular feature, like using bags on the head or eye-isolating masks to ensure equal chances to all participants based on the beauty of the whole body and not the facial beauty only.
However, not all unusual beauty contests are designed to give contestants equal footing or make a mockery of the concept. Some inspire people to re-build their lives or boost the confidence of individuals who may be struggling with physical insecurities. Angola is an African country that went through a decade of civil war. The result was that there are still too many landmines in the land and many people died or became disabling due to these explosives.
One such contest is Miss Landmine Pageant, an attempt to bring social awareness to women that have been impacted by landmines and give them pride and power to continue to live. This contest changes the beauty definition having an elevated cause. In other parts of the world, being big means being beautiful. The Miss Jumbo pageant taking place in Thailand is such an event that gives an opportunity to really big women to compete. This competition helps in raising money for elephant sanctuary, located in Thailand and the chosen top competitors are actually women that look like an elephant. Another lofty pageant is Lithuanian contest Miss Captivity, which gives a chance to incarcerated women to increase their self-esteem by taking a part in a beauty pageant. Similar contests are also organized in Brazil, Columbia and Russia.
Some beauty pageants are just for fun. One of the most ghoulish contests is the Zombie Beauty Pageant, which is an annual event in the New York. All participants are dressed like zombies and the most disgusting ones get the prize. This is more similar to a costume competition than a beauty pageant, but I suppose there is a market of every idea of beauty.
As funny as it may sound, there is a pageant called Miss Turkey Legs, which takes place in Arkansas. The contestants are dressed up in a turkey costume that exposes their legs only.
Of course, there are then traditionalists who will go to extreme lengths to fulfill modern ideals of beauty. In these bizarre pageants contestants become animations of themselves.
Miss Artificial Beauty, in which participants show the results of their plastic surgery and the jury judges the best of them. This contest is organized in China and the contestants believe that artificial is much better than natural. In Hungary a similar contest takes place known as Miss Plastic.For those that cannot boast with exceptional look or personality, they still can compete in a pageant called Miss Beauty Doll Competition. All you need is to be a proud owner of plastic Barbie, so you can compete with it.