If you compete in pageants, you have most likely heard of thepageantplanet.com. This website, which publishes articles about (you guessed it) pageantry, has essentially established itself as the go-to resource for girls and women competing in pageants across the country.
Which is why it is so disappointing that over the last two weeks, the site has re-publicized two articles that promote unhealthy ways to lose weight. One gives girls "3 Ways to Lose 5 Pounds in a Week" and another encourages them to "Cleanse Your Body Before Pageant Week."
Here's the reality, supported by research: Cleanses are bad for you.
Adult women are educated and mature enough to make decisions about their bodies. And if adult women were the only people meant to read The Pageant Planet, I would understand and acknowledge the site's right to publish whatever opinions they want. Heck, that's what I do on my blog!
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is, Pageant Planet also caters to teen, and even pre-teen, contestants. In fact, they feature several interviews with pre-teen pageant queens. Young girls aren't old enough to be able to discern opinion from fact.
Call me crazy, but I feel like as a blog that is presenting itself as a resource has an obligation to present accurate and factual information, or at least to distinguish when "expert" opinions are opinions. Instead, by encouraging women to "cleanse" or do multiple body wraps, The Pageant Planet is not only ignoring its social responsibility, but it's not even doing its purported job: helping women win pageants.
Here are the facts: Lifestyle and Fitness (that's swimsuit) winners in the Miss America system win because they live a healthy lifestyle. They lift weights and go running and eat unprocessed foods and enjoy the occasional cookie. They don't lose their weight in the last week by dehydrating themselves through a cleanse or depriving themselves of carbs.
That's the whole point of the swimsuit competition. If they were crowning the skinniest girl or the girl who weighed the least, they'd just need to take each contestant's measurements or have them step on a scale. I would be willing to bet that more often than not, the Lifestyle and Fitness winner does not weigh in as the lightest girl in the competition because she has muscle that she's worked hard to build.
Titleholders and "experts" within the pageant community have an obligation to promote healthy decisions. Especially when you know that little girls are watching (or, in this case, reading).
Agree or disagree? Let me know.