The term "beauty pageant" brings up a variety of images.  Swimsuits, evening gowns, and ruthless competition to name a few.

Many are now called "scholarship pageants" to distance themselves from some of those poor images.

Would you encourage your daughter to enter a beauty pageant?

Many argue that beauty pageants objectify women.  In some cases that's true.  At the same time, there is no denying that many beauty pageants do a lot of good.

Grand Rapids has been host the the Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant.  Andy Rent wrote:

“We’re bringing awareness,” said Jones, a 31-year-old paraplegic from Troy who is making her first visit to Grand Rapids.

“And we’re fighting barriers, not just physical, but attitudinal barriers, (attitudes) such as people with disabilities aren’t productive, we’re not as smart and we can’t be mothers.”

Breaking down those barriers is why Ms. Wheelchair America is not a beauty contest, but a pageant with a mission to widen the public’s understanding and acceptance of those who use wheelchairs, said Shelly Loose, state coordinator for Ms. Wheelchair Michigan and executive director of Ms. Wheelchair America.

On December 1, the 2013 Miss Greater Grand Rapids was crowned.  She will go on to represent us at the Miss Michigan Pageant in Muskegon in June of 2013.

Not all pageants are the same.  Some seem to have the purpose of spreading a positive message.  Others have messages to spread as well, but they can seem secondary to photo shoots, evening gowns, and swimsuits.

I would find it easy to encourage my daughter to enter a pageant that is truly there to promote a positive message.  The other pageants I would be much more cautious about.

However, if my daughter was both interested in entering AND old enough to understand the pros and cons, she would have my support just as she always will with all of her interests.