An exploration of women's meanings of their competing in beauty pageants and what part their families have played
The purpose of this study was to explore women's meanings of participating in beauty pageants and what part their families have played in influencing their decision to participate. The life stories of 14 women that have had experience as a participant in a beauty pageant at any point in their lifetime were utilized to provide family therapists with an understanding about this subsystem and their families. The objective of this study was not to show that pageants are good or bad, but to simply lend an understanding of this group of people from their perspective, why they participate in pageantry, and how their families have influenced them. The researcher conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with each participant. Each interview was recorded and transcribed by hand by the researcher. Themes that emerged from the interviews were as follows: (1) Bonding with Children, (2) Bonding with Spouse, (3) Bonding with Extended Family, (4) Formation of Friendships, (5) Support from Outside the Family System, (6) Thriving, (7) Lack of Support from Family System, and (8) Lack of Support from Spouse. Family therapists are challenged to serve all members of society. Therefore, Family therapists may benefit from the information regarding family influence, as well as other information gathered from this study, because very little is known about pageant systems other than from a historical, feminist, ethnic, and cultural perspective.