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Beauty Pageants

Beauty pageants or beauty contests are competitions where female contestants are judged primarily on their physical appearance. Although some pageants assess nonphysical characteristics such as personality, intelligence, and talent, the main criterion is physical attractiveness. A panel of judges typically selects the pageant winner who is then crowned as a “beauty queen.”

The first American beauty pageant was held in 1854 by P. T. Barnum, an entertainer and circus founder. However, the pageant was likened to a side show and it quickly closed down due to public protest. In the late 19th century, newspapers began hosting photo-based beauty contests. Soon after, the first “bathing beauty pageants” took place and ultimately became a regular part of summer beach life in an effort to draw tourists to beaches ...

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