Before participating in any contest please check who the judges are and their gallery...if they are popular and have a shitty gallery with hundreds of favs from people they know then skip the contest. They socialize very much and not every body can be like that. We have selected friends and eye for beauty, we can't expect the same from everyone.
You even notice they got Deviant art award (DD)s. They are the same. Majority of them doesn't have any artistic value. I even saw a deviation which isn't cut properly and pasted with 200 favs in an hour. Before going step further an artist must at least know that the cut and paste must fit in. The choice of their colors will hurt your eyes. Nothing in the image blends one with another! So please don't disheartened when you don't win and I even was ashamed once when my work won among other shit load of works. I thought this is not real victory. NO POLITICAL CORRESTNESS SHOULD BE EXPECTED WHEN IT COMES TO ART. NO SUGAR COATING FOR ANYONE'S FEELINGS. THIS IS NOT GAME, IT IS CRUSHING A TALENTED WITH A CUNNING BRAIN. I have to write this because last night a friend was very upset that they have lost and they are brilliant. Yes, it happens very often. Wait for recognition and keep working, or just please yourself than expecting someone's acceptance. You serenity will win someday real big and it will keep you real.
once upon a time
Class vs politics
Unfortunately, any assessment is subjective. Any choice is based on impression. A person can then find arguments, justification for his choice. But in any case, the question "accept or not accept" is purely a matter of taste. Hence the consequences.
It was not about you, it was about those who organize contests, who have the power to make decisions. Well, in general, about human psychology. People do not think in logical and scientific terms. Objectivity is a difficult thing to achieve and is inherently accessible to a minority. So I agree with the main message of your note - before participating in contests, you need to see who will judge you :)