herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Beauty contests are not my thing, but net trolls are really ugly

So this weekend I spent Sunday doing some gardening around my mobile home. I was wearing very old navy cord shorts, a vest that was holey, off white and gacky looking.

My hair resembled the hedge and there were green bits that had sprung from the shears onto my sweaty face.

As I took a break from the clipping, I read about the alleged abuse the new Miss Ireland, Jessica Hayes, was receiving on social media. People were saying she was ugly.

So you win Miss Ireland and what do you expect - some flowers maybe, a chance to get world peace up and running, a nice sparkly crown?

FACELESS

You don't really expect some faceless trolls telling you how unattractive you are. Now I couldn't give less of a damn about beauty pageants.

I think they are demeaning and pointless. Really pointless. (If you don't win a race you train harder. If you don't come first in your school exams, you study more. What actually happens if you don't win a beauty contest - you train to be prettier?)

Anyway, beauty contests have been around for a while, so some people must like them.

I remember as a child sitting down with my Aunty Anita and my cousins and watching the Miss World competition.

It was the seventies and Miss World was on a par with the Eurovision - primetime tacky family entertainment.

I remember vividly when the contestants came out, there was a singer who sang the name of the country.

"Miss Venezueaaaaalaaaaaaaa, ooooohh..."

Well we cried laughing each time a country's name was warbled by this Nana Mouskouri-like singer.

So I grew up knowing these competitions were important to some people, but really silly to me.

I also understand that people can be insulted by the likes of these competitions. I get that.

But where does this incredibly aggressive commentary come from in relation to looks?

Every day we are fed messages from glossy magazines, showing us images of celebrities being 'beach ready', or heaven forbid, bulging at the waist.

We never see them trimming hedges covered in leaves - or any of the million other tasks we all do daily.

judging

Women flick through, judging the size and the attractiveness of these other women.

We make ourselves feel better by commenting on their appearances.

Jessica Hayes is not ugly. She just won a competition that grades people on prettiness. If you invite people to say you are the most beautiful, you also invite people to say the opposite.

Perhaps it's the idea of the competition itself that is ugly, and not the lovely girls who put themselves forward.

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