All the sweeter: why men invented beauty pageants

All the sweeter: why men invented beauty pageants

And is it possible to use them to predict strategic risks.


Beauty contest held in the Belgian resort town of Spa 19 September 1888, strictly speaking, was not the first nor the sense of the subject (if anything, we may recall the traditional election of the May Queen in Anglo-Saxon countries, and the medieval “courts of love”, and even the legendary “judgement of Paris”, passarelli of ahead with the Trojans), or even in terms of organizational and commercial — something like almost organized in 1851 the well-known show-businessman P. T. Barnum (although the undertaking had to be abandoned because of public protests, saw the election of the beauty Queen something is not quite decent). But it so happened that the competition in the Spa in the annals as the debut contest of beauties — and rules for the conduct of the jury, photographs of participants and tiara for the winner survived since then almost unchanged, so that the portal I decided to use the date and to reflect on the role of beauty contests in the history of the world.

Rescue on waters

History has not preserved the names of the members of the distinguished jury, were selected finalists in Spa for daguerreotypes — there was a total of 350 applications, and then, behind closed doors, personally znakomitsya with 21 finalist. But we know the name of the winner who received the prize in 5 thousand francs — a very decent in the late nineteenth century money (a University Professor received a year 3-6 thousand). It was, as reported by Le Journal illustree, “18-year-old Creole from Guadeloupe” named Berta, Sukara.

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With lithographic photos on popology looks rather plump lady in a dress with open shoulders — today, perhaps, it would be called “body-positive”. The contest, though, and got into the press, is still considered to be quite ambiguous and not quite decent — Yes, and what did you do in everyday life, Bertha Scare, we can only guess.

Accepted by society (though not everyone) beauty contests were only in the 1920s, when arranged in 1921, on the other, now the American, resort — Atlantic city — the first show “Miss America”. Participants appeared on stage in bathing suits — however, very chaste in these times. Although, perhaps, the case goes back to its former rigor — “beach” outputs of the participants in bikini in recent years, has canceled almost all the world’s leading beauty contests.

The attitude towards such events in the society again changed its polarity — and it’s not a return to traditional norms of morality, rather the opposite. While obviously more liberties mores of contemporary Western society tend to view such shows as an archaic heritage “of the Patriarchal world,” the kind of sexual objectification, not unlike prostitution or pornography. The organizers are trying to meet the new trends — in fact, attempts on the intellectual component of competition was observed half a century ago.

However, beauty contests have been and remain first and foremost an innocent-looking way to saturate the interest of the public to everything “obscene” — with enviable regularity occurring scandals with the voting process, with the last participants, with the personalities of the organizers proof of this.

Distracted and forget

The reason for holding the competition at Spa 130 years ago, it was, among other things, the desire to attract tourists is a resort in those days was one of the main gathering places of the European world (and, as usual, demimonde, too — “where a horse with a hoof, there and a cancer with a claw”). But at the end of the nineteenth century was the first peak, as we would say today, “terrorist activity” in the world, which began with the murder of Emperor Alexander II and U.S. President Garfield in 1881.

Companies fear the unknown suicide was actively maximized and then the press regularly reports the chilling details on the preparation of the anarchists of the next atrocities. Then, most likely, it was the principle of the snowball — inspired stories (and tales) of the single really took over. In 1893, the anarchist Auguste Vaillant exploded a bomb in the conference room of the French Parliament, a year later, the Italian, Caserio mortally wounded President of the Third Republic, Carnot. In 1898, the whole world was shocked by the death of the Austrian Empress Elizabeth’s hand again anarchist, Luigi Lukeni.

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The society was first confronted with a threat that could not be attributed to a particular state or ethnic group, and instinctively tried to escape from fear by sublimation of sexual entertainment. It was in these years appeared the cancan and Striptease, and other quasi-legal ways of exploitation of the female body. Don’t forget that will not go away and the threat of the “usual” war — was waiting for her in Europe since the end of Franco-German conflict of 1870. I had to wait almost half a century, but the scale of the disaster was much worse than expected.

In General throughout the twentieth century observed a curious pattern: the peak of the popularity of beauty contests and similar events falls either on the first post-war years (and winners and losers), or, in periods of economic and political disorder. In the U.S., for example, after starting in 1921, “Miss America” (collected, by the way, almost 100 thousand wishing to look at detalirovki on the famous Atlantic city boardwalk beauties) mass peak of the show came in the years of the great depression, when they — of course, on a much less pretentious level is held in almost every town. In fact, the famous novel of Horace McCoy “they shoot horses, is not it” and its film adaptation by Sidney Pollack dance marathons were the amusements of the same order.

The next burst of mass (in the context of the activities) interest in beauty pageants occurred in the 1950s, impose on the fear of a nuclear Apocalypse; in the 1960s the Western world frankly relax and have fun without the help of sublimation of the sexual revolution for some time did beauty pageants are terribly old-fashioned and boring spectacle (especially because in that period, the contestants most of them went on stage in private suits).

The economic crisis of the 1970s brought the last wave of enthusiasm that a competition of beauties in the West; we have to come down after a clear effect of novelty, curiosity remained until the end of the dashing 1990s. Then economic growth — as, indeed, the rest of the world — the Internet has done its job.

Beauty pageants, of course, are, but, it seems, can not cause much interest, even among feminists, even as a reason to once again pocapital Donald trump, who owned the rights to host “Miss Universe” and “Miss USA” from 1996 to 2015 year, there were other, far more relevant objects of criticism.

It is characteristic that in Russia the interest to once caused a burning curiosity events has clearly gone by the wayside. If at the end of the 1980s, the names of the first “Moscow beauty” Maria Kalinina and the first “Miss USSR” Julia Sukhanova know, it seems that even children and decrepit old men, remember, who this spring became the new “Miss Russia” will find it difficult, probably, heads of departments gossip.