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Norwalk Clings to 'Archaic Ritual'

October 05, 1986

I applaud the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce for attempting to put an end to the so-called beauty pageant held in that city (Traditional Pageants to Reign in Norwalk, Sept. 28). It's too bad the City Council vetoed the idea and continues to cling to "tradition" when it could have progressed into the last part of the 20th Century by abandoning an archaic ritual!

Promoters of these "pageants" are in this business for the money; they have sold cities (including the one I reside in) on the idea that nubile women, and only such persons, can represent their towns. Those who enter the contests purchase cosmetics and other accouterments that they hope will make them standout contenders. Oh, sure, the winner will receive some kind of exposure, and a small scholarship, but the also-rans have damaged not only their pocketbooks but their self-esteem.

Today, most young women know there is more to life than pretty, and they want to be considered equally with young men for education and career opportunities; the majority are not interested in "beauty pageants" that bear a striking resemblance to ancient fertility rites.

The Norwalk chamber offered a better alternative. But they could have been even more revolutionary by suggesting that the money set aside for the contest be used to offer more help to the city's needy population. And they could have also recommended that women and men of all ages, who have contributed their time, talents and energies to the betterment of the community, be selected as the "Ambassadors of Norwalk."

--MARTHA ABELL

Downey

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