Why Pageants?

When the word 'pageant' is tossed around in conversation, some might automatically think of bikinis and beauty. Let's face it -- the shallow stuff. What a lot of people don't realize that most pageants have a platform component. Basically, each girl has a different platform focusing on an issue in society that she personally is striving to change for the better.

Many of you know that my platform is all about empowering young women against domestic violence. It seems like something that should be common sense -- we all know that domestic violence is wrong, and we all assume that we'd never stand for being in an abusive relationship. Sadly, the statistics still show otherwise. If you've never been part of an abusive relationship, you don't know just how hard it can be to get out. I am so thankful that I have never personally experienced dating violence, but I know through my training at My Sisters' Place that there are women around me each and every day who do.

Why do I bring this up today? Well, my platform has been on my mind recently as I get constant updates from the Miss America Organization regarding their 2012 Miss America Contestants. The young women who will be competing this year are all incredibly beautiful, smart, talented ladies who support various platforms, from volunteerism among youth to promoting a healthy lifestyle. All of their platforms are amazing, and they are all making an impact on society. Yet, not one contestant is supporting a platform of domestic violence prevention. It just speaks to the fact that while domestic violence is still a huge issue, it is often overlooked until it reaches epic proportions: women battered, fighting for their lives. We need to fight for these women BEFORE the violence reaches such a terrible climax.

Many people may wonder what my motivation for participating in pageants is. It isn't to be recognized as the most beautiful -- I know that there are so many beautiful women entering these competitions, and that inner beauty far outweighs outer. It isn't because I particularly love parading around in my swimsuit -- trust me, diet and exercise can start to drive a girl crazy! It is because when I realize that there are women out there who feel worthless, ugly, and imperfect because of the words and actions of others, I can't just sit back and not get involved. I am competing in pageants in the hope that as a local titleholder, I can bring more awareness to the plight of our neighbors who need, more than anything, our support and understanding as they begin the journey to empowerment.

I leave you with a link to one of my favorite YouTube videos. The message speaks for itself, and encourages the fighter within me each time I see it.

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