Health

These Charts Give a Glimpse into How out of Touch Beauty Pageants Are Today

April 12th 2016

By:
Alex Mierjeski

A new look at the last 63 years of Miss Universe shows just how out of touch our society is with what a real body looks like. Just consider the pageant's contestants — and the standards by which they're judged — and take a closer look.

Body standards changed over the years seen in these Miss Universe images

Superdrug Online Doctor, which is based in the U.K., recently compared the physicality of Miss Universe winners since 1952, and compared those figures to averages of U.S. women over the same period.

The resulting chart presents a stark contrast between the body types of Miss Universe winners and the average 20 to 29-year-old U.S. woman.

Miss Universe Weight

In addition to weight, researchers also reviewed height and body mass index (BMI), which they note "is not an accurate measure of health, as it does not take into account factors such as age, gender, and muscle mass."

In both cases, Miss Universe winners grew taller and displaying lower BMIs — counter to U.S. averages. (Check out those charts here.)

The rift in the height, weight, and BMI between Miss Universe winners and actual women might not be so surprising, but the researchers note that the competition, like many other beauty pageants, promulgate "unattainable ideals of beauty."

The concern is "that people could see the images at Miss Universe and believe them to be a true reflection of how women should look, despite the fact that 95 percent of the population could never attain this supposed body 'ideal,'" said Denise Hatton, CEO of YMCA England and a founding partner of the Be Real Campaign.

"The impact of this perception is serious, with our own research showing that 42 percent of girls and young women feel the most negative part of being female is this pressure to look attractive," Hatton said.