Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Swimsuit Competitions

Lately on Instagram swimsuit competitions have been on the rise. I say on the rise because two of the individuals I follow are either currently training or preparing to train for a competition in the upcoming months. Earlier I wrote a post about plus size beauty pageants where I discussed my thoughts on what seems to be a non-existent society of beauty pageants for plus sized women.

Well, since swimsuit competitions are on the rise for women who are willing to wear a bikini, where are swimsuit pageants for curvier women. Notice, I said swimsuit pageants and not competitions because to me, competitions equal judgment, but that is what they are all about.

If one was to compete in a bikini competition, this is what they would have to go through (this information is based on the NPC bikini division).

  • Competitors will be judged on their appearance in a two-piece swimsuit, while wearing high heels and jewelry. 
  • Competitors will walk onstage to perform their model walk which consists of a front stance, a back stance and another front stance (all in 10 seconds)
  • Competitors will be judged on their balance, shape, complexion, skin tone, poise and overall presentation. 
Now I am not condemning anyone from competing in these competitions, if that is what you like to do and have the courage to go through that, then I applaud you. I am not sure if I would have a change of thought if I had a "bikini body", would I want to compete in one of these events to show how far I have come? Maybe. I just don't know if I could put myself through that rigorous training and then stand in front of a group of people to be judged based on my appearance.

On the other hand, when did complexion and skin tone determine when a woman was beautiful? For someone who is self conscious about their skin, that can be a real insult. From my nose up is one complexion (a lighter one) and from my nose down is a darker complexion. My face hasn't always been like this, in recent years I believe I have had a reaction to some sort of medication that has left me like this. As the days go on, I do get self conscious about my face, but what if I suffered that all over my body and I wanted to enter one of these competitions, then what? Would I automatically face some sort of penalty because I didn't have a smooth complexion (if I was suffering this somewhere on my body)?

Where are pageants that embrace women's bodies? Where are the plus size swimsuit pageants that highlight women's work when it comes to losing weight, or maintaining the weight that they are comfortable with. Maybe I am looking too far into these swimsuit pageants and blowing them out of proportion but it would be nice to see more of these events with women who have more curves.

Thinking about swimsuit competitions makes me think about swimsuits for plus size women in general. It takes me a few swimsuits before I find one that suits my body (by that I mean one that doesn't leave everything hanging out for the eye to see). One thing I am happy to see is that more plus size swimsuits are on the market, although many of them appear online versus in store, it still seems that makers are expanding their lines to fit more women, even if society condemns us for being a larger size.

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