The dark side of occupation within the context of modern-day beauty pageants

Michael Sy, Pauline Martinez, Rebecca Twinley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The desire to be physically beautiful is inherent among human beings. In particular, some women who participate in modern-day beauty pageants tend to spend more time, energy, money and emotional resources to alter their natural body and looks to fit socially and culturally constructed standards of beauty. OBJECTIVE: The authors frame beauty pageants as the context where diverse occupations are at play with the purpose of becoming a 'beauty queen'. This commentary aims to discuss the origins and culture of beauty pageants, the different perspectives on pageantry work, and essential and hidden occupations performed within the context of this form of performing art. APPROACH: Using the conceptual lens of the dark side of occupation, hidden occupations are characterised by the doings of pageant hopefuls that are less explored and acknowledged because they are perceived as health-compromising, risky, dishonest, illicit, and socially or personally undesirable. CONCLUSION: Furthermore, this commentary calls for the exploration of occupations beyond the conventional scope of its understanding and the acknowledgment of hidden occupations intertwined into people's everyday doings specifically in the context of desiring to be 'beautiful'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-377
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

The final publication is available at IOS Press through


  • Performing arts
  • health compromising
  • hidden
  • occupational science
  • work


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