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HSG
4th April 2011, 18:10
<br>The Judgment of Paris has always had a soft spot for beauty pageants, at least in principle. After all, this site is named after a beauty contest--the first in literary history--in which the shepherd Paris selected Aphrodite as the most attractive of all of the Greek goddesses. For his wise choice, Paris was awarded the love of Helen of Troy, the most gorgeous woman of all time.

So, yes, we have a soft spot for beauty pageants . . . <i>in principle.</I> In practice, however, modern beauty contests are anything but, because they lack the key ingredient: beauty. Today's pageants are merely parades of anorexic androgynes who would be completely at home among the fashion industry's catwalk cadavers.

The lone exception among beauty-pageant winners of the past 30 years would be the lovely Alicia Machado, a Miss Venezuela who took the crown in 1997 and became the most stunning Miss Universe in living memory.

Though she was terribly underweight when she won the title, Alicia was moderately attractive even then.<p><center><img src="http://i51.tinypic.com/2w5m42e.jpg"></center><p>However, as we <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=1227#post3091" target="_blank">noted</a> on the forum a few seasons ago, immediately upon winning the title, Alicia alluringly let herself go and blossomed into a fuller, more beautiful size. The extra weight was visible in her face, softening her features and giving her a robust, fleshy look. The increased fullness also endowed her with buxom contours, as seen in this image from the <i>Telegraph,</I> which shows her voluptuous curves straining against the buttons of her jacket. The sensual caption is original to the picture itself, just as it was published in the <i>Telegraph</I> at the time.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/forum/alicia01.jpg"></center><p>The reaction to Alicia's seductive self-indulgence represented one of the most glaring splits between the tastes of the media and the general public. While the Miss Universe pageant threatened to strip her of her crown if she didn't stave herself back into a malnourished size, the public avidly favoured her richer curves and believed that her beauty had increased.

Alas, Alicia dutifully diminished herself, just as she had been coerced into doing. But she left a memory in many people's minds of just how attractive a curvier ideal of beauty could be.<p><center>* * *</center><p>Fast forward to 2011, and, in a saga that received international attention, the reigning Miss San Antonio, Domonique Ramirez, was likewise accused of gaining weight, and was threatened with the loss of her title if she didn't reduce herself to standard, corpse-like, pageant proportions.

As this <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-12865174" target="_blank">article</a> recounts, Domonique took the Miss San Antonio organization to court, where the humiliating behaviour of the steering committee came to light:

Organisers took away the teenager's crown in January . . . During the week-long trial, pageant director Linda Woods said the teenager had turned up to a bikini shoot overweight, making the pictures "unusable."

Ms Ramirez told the court that pageant bosses had said she "needed to lay off the tacos and the junk food."These statements are beyond infuriating. As the image of the pageant winner in the linked article reveals, she was, and remains, utterly skeletal. Unlike the lovely Alicia Machado, whose generous appetite did visibly enrich her beauty as she gained alluring weight, Domonique remained painfully thin throughout her reign. Indeed, some hearty helpings of "tacos and junk food" could only have improved her malnourished appearance. But alas, she remained consistently emaciated, despite what the pageant organizers claimed, and as a result she regained her title and her crown.<p><center>* * *</center><p>We mention all of this to provide the background for the following video. Courtney Legare (a.k.a. C.J. Legare), a size-18 Texas model, recently appeared on a daytime news program on an Austin television station to discuss the case of Miss San Antonio, as well as other topics pertaining to body image and self-esteem.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ch/austin01.jpg"></center><p>It is always encouraging to see a genuinely full-figured model earn mainstream-media air time. To her great credit, Courtney dressed in a chic and size-positive manner for her segment, donning a sleeveless blouse that exhibits the soft fullness of her rounded arms.
<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ch/austin06.jpg"></center><p>She wears her hair in an attractively braided style,<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ch/austin03.jpg"></center><p>and her facial features exhibit a rich, well-fed look.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ch/austin04.jpg"></center><p>At certain moments, viewers can even glimpse the slight rise of a slope toward the throat.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ch/austin05.jpg"></center><p>The following headshot showcases the pretty necklace that Courtney wore to complement her outfit. As a professional stylist, she has a feminine and elegant fashion sense, invariably selecting attire that is youthful, yet classy.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ch/austin02.jpg"></center><p>The profile shots naturally provide the most size-positive views of Courtney, as they show how the blouse defines the luscious curves along the model's side and back. This is why having true plus-size models (size 16 or better) representing full-figured women is so important: such goddesses exhibit the physical characteristics of a well-fed physique. The juxtaposition of opulent curves with modelesque facial features shows the world that plus-size women are beautiful <i>because</I> they are full-figured, not despite this fact.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ch/austin08.jpg"></center><p>Although the sight of the model's figure is the video's most eloquent argument on behalf of size celebration, viewers should also take note of the insights that Courtney offers. At one point, she makes the significant observation that the media, as well as the diet-starvation and exercise-torture peddlers, are

total strangers who just want your money, who are taking your self-esteem and selling it back to you at a profit.That is a devastating indictment of the notorious marketing ploy of <i>mixed messages.</i> First, the media tears apart a woman's body image and brainwashes her into thinking that she has "flaws" (when she actually does not). Then it tells her that the only way that she can overcome these mythical "imperfections" is by purchasing the starvation/torture industry's products and regimens.

It would be like duping a person into thinking that they have a nonexistent illness, then selling them snake oil to "cure" that mythical malady. This is a truly insidious racket, and Courtney's formulation reveals how twisted the scheme really is.<p><center><img src="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/ch/austin09.jpg"></center><p>Hopefully, however, with the increased visibility of gorgeous size-18 models, women will finally free themselves of the mind-forged manacles that the media has clamped upon them. In doing so, they will rediscover the timeless ideal of full-figured beauty, and will recognize that indulging in <i>"tacos and junk food"</i> (as Miss San Antonio was said to enjoy) not only enhances the beauty of pageant winners, but of all women, and that eating whatever they like is a far more pleasurable experience than needlessly starving themselves into a skeletal, unhealthy size.

Here is the video of Courtney's Austin TV appearance:<p><center><object width="600" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/VhAFUamvInUfs=1&amp; hl=en_US&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0x3a3a3a&amp;color2=0x999999"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/VhAFUamvInU?fs=1&amp; hl=en_US&amp;rel=0&amp;color1=0x3a3a3a&amp;color2=0x999999" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="600" height="480"></embed></object></center><p>- <a href="http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=2047" target="_blank">Recent images (and video) of Courtney</a>

Shelley
17th April 2011, 20:15
The trope of beauty queens gaining weight and becoming more beautiful, despite the curve-o-phobic resistance of their pageant organizations, is truly fascinating. It's an issue that clearly divides the tastes of the public from the tastes of the media's out-of-touch gatekeepers.

I appreciate the mention of the gorgeous Alicia Machado, as well as the follow-up thread (http://www.judgmentofparis.com/board/showthread.php?t=2136) showing the rare images of Alicia at her slightly curvier size.

I also remember how much press there was around the case of Domonique Ramirez, the Miss San Antonio whom Courtney and the host were discussing on Austin news. This was perhaps the most interesting article about Domonique's situation:

http://www.statesman.com/opinion/navarrette-racism-with-a-bite-1317253.html

The author expresses righteous indignation about the prospect of an extremely thin girl being stripped of her crown for being not skeletal enough:

Fearing that I might be making too much out of this story, I reached out to someone who is an expert on Latinas and their self-image. Screenwriter Josefina Lopez helped movie audiences understand that as her film is titled "Real Women Have Curves." But she still doesn't understand how thickheaded some people can be when it comes to weight.

"When are people going to get it that beauty comes in all sizes?" Lopez told me. "It's ridiculous that they keep emphasizing that (Ramirez) ate too many tacos...I hope she gets her crown back and shows people that being a beauty queen isn't just about beauty but about standing on your throne and fighting injustice too!"
Even better, she makes the compelling argument that the person who should lose her position is not Domonique, the pageant winner, but rather Linda Woods, the president of the Miss San Antonio pageant board, which threatened to strip Domonique of her title:

Regardless of how this plays out in court, Woods should be dumped from the Miss San Antonio organization. Does this institution really want to see its image tarnished by continuing to be represented by someone who acts so boorishly?
But the part that I especially appreciate in the article is how the author contrasts this situation to an example of another Hispanic icon of beauty, Salma Hayek, shown indulging herself freely in a TV commercial:

I prefer an amusing commercial featuring glamorous Mexican actress Salma Hayek in a restaurant kitchen devouring tacos while a group of movie executives wait for her at a table. When she joins them, she forgoes the menu and declares that she is watching her figure.

It's a great spot because it shows an attractive actress doing something we don't often see Hollywood starlets doing: eating and enjoying food. And Hayek is no less desirable for it.

In a country where many young women combat anorexia, I hope young Latinas including my daughters grow up to see the world, and their bodies, more like the people who created the Hayek commercial and less like, to borrow from Charlie Sheen, the "trolls" who get their kicks coming up with creative and cruel ways to put down girls for not having what they consider "perfect" bodies.
The author's attitude is exactly what we need to hear in the media. Her statement could have come straight from the Judgment of Paris. She praises Salma Hayek for being shown eating and really enjoying it, and expresses a hope that young girls follow this pro-indulgence example rather than the starvation standard that the pageant is trying to enforce.

By the way, here's the commercial that the author talked about - an ad for Coca-Cola. Just as the writer described, Salma Hayek enthusiastically wolfs down tacos just prior to a meeting with a group of Hollywood types, where she declines a "meal" of thin greens:

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If more pageant winners possessed such a rich appetite, the world's beauty queens might actually be curvy enough to deserve their crowns.