When beauty pageants began, they were viewed as “trivial events whose interpretation required no scholarly effort.” Miss America, the first pageant of its kind, has made an effort to ensure that it does not appear as a "stereotypical" pageant.
Pageants may be multicultural or racially specific, such as Miss Chinese International Pageant, Miss Black America or Miss Indian America.
Another goal of pageants is promoting self-esteem of the contestants. Girls that compete feel a sense of belonging with the other contestants, and the larger pageant community. Contestants gain the ability to speak in public, and a sense of confidence in themselves. Winners of these pageants have said that feel they have a sense of accomplishment.
Some pageants are aligned with clubs to raise money for charities. The “clubs” that each contestant supports may be referred to as “platforms.”
By the 1960s, pageantry took off. Women were becoming more and more educated, and more viewed in the public eye. Six more pageants became established; Miss USA, Miss World, Miss Universe, Miss Teenage American Pageant, Miss National Teen-ager, and the Miss Teen All America Pageant. The winners of these pageants became role models for little girls and teens. The key role in being a queen was to understand and support topical issues. The winners especially were the women who the girls looked up to the most. They needed to be someone who girls could connect with and apply their lives to. They are now considered an "exemplar of cultural flow." Pageants like the Miss Teenage California Scholarship Pageant do not have a swimsuit competition and award thousands in college scholarships.