Dear Mr. Smith,
My name is Stacey James, and I am currently Mrs. Parker Days. I read your recent column, "Nothing against beauty, but we could do without the pageants," and I wanted to take a moment and clear up some of the issues you have with the pageant world and your very negative views on this subject. And since your column was your opinion, this is mine.
In this day and age, we have become a participation ribbon nation, where everyone wins a prize for simply showing up. In school, you will have children who work for months on a science project to receive the same prize and recognition as the child who finished the night before. Why strive for greatness, when merit and competition are no longer tolerated?
In the pageant world, I have personally witnessed some of the most educated, beautiful and talented women push themselves to achieve higher goals and strive to do more in the world.
Competition is completely acceptable if you are a man wearing a jersey, scoring points against the opposing team. Male fitness, sports, and many other male-related competitions are not deemed offensive. Yet, an empowered, educated, talented and beautiful woman is?
I don't have any issues with sports or competition, but how is one better than the other? I think competition is a way to push ourselves to greater heights. For me personally, I lost a significant amount of weight and the thought of entering pageants had me striving to achieve more than I ever thought was possible. Pageants have taught me a great deal about not only how I can make a difference in my own life, but how I can make a difference for others and give back to my community.
In 2016, Mrs. Colorado collected 50,000 pairs of socks for the homeless in Colorado during her reign. Last Thanksgiving in Parker, we donated more than 300 turkeys to military and their families. These women use this opportunity and voice to bring awareness to many charities and causes such as donating money and time to Children's Hospital Colorado, autism, military, domestic violence, breast cancer, sex trafficking, Alzheimer's and many other causes. These women rally together to raise funds and make a huge difference in their communities. It's incredible what these women do, and I could not be prouder to be part of the pageantry world.
The young women who are actively competing in pageants are not the victims that you make them out to be. These young women are active members in the communities and learn life skills that help them excel in college interviews, organize school groups and become better prepared for their futures.
Our Miss Parker Days Teen has over 300 volunteer hours in the last couple of years and is launching her platform, Volunteers@Heart, to encourage the community in her volunteer efforts. Even my own daughter is a pageant coach and said, "I have seen pageants be a saving grace for young women and teens that have been through abuse, bullying, depression and many bad situations at home. It is an outlet for some girls and motivates them to reach for more in life."
My hope is that when little girls see these competitions, they view these women as role models who serve their communities, stay on the right path, further their education and let their beauty shine from the inside out. I hope these women and young women, much like local athletes, will be a source of inspiration for our children.
Mr. Smith, for these women, it's not about the sash, and it's not about the beauty, it's about supporting the community and having a voice to do so. These women are truly as beautiful inside as they are on the outside.
Next time you see a girl wearing a sash, ask her how many volunteer hours she has. It may change your perspective.
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