Making diversity waves in beauty pageants

It’s about damn time some diversity in the beauty pageant realm made in appearance. So often we see unrealistic beauty standards, perpetuated by white women, being victorious in these types of competitions, truly hindering the potential for other ethnicities active in the industry.

Recently, though, this winner stereotype has been challenged, and personally, I’m elated.

2019 marks a tremendous feat in the beauty pageant industry. This year is the first in which “four of the major beauty pageants (have) simultaneously awarded the top prize to a black woman,” says an article written for The New York Times by Laura M. Holson.

The article explains how “Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa was named Miss Universe” recently, and further how Cheslie Kryst is this year’s Miss USA, Kaliegh Garris is this year’s Miss Teen USA, and Nia Franklin is this year’s Miss America.

Individuals in fierce support of these victors “say the recognition sends a powerful message that today’s beauty standards are evolving beyond Barbie-lite, or an era when contestants were prized solely for smooth hair, light skin color and thin lips,” the article states.

Tunzi shared a powerful message after earning the Miss Universe title. “‘I grew up in a world where a woman who looks like me, with my kind of skin and my kind of hair, was never considered beautiful,’ she told the rapt crowd. ‘I think it is time that stops today. I want children to look at me and see my face. And I want them to see their faces reflected in mine,'” she is quoted in the article.

I believe these recent victorious are pivotal in transforming the socially constructed standards that reign powerful in the beauty industry. These four women are representative of a necessary depiction of beauty in today’s world, and I would imagine many other people feel the same way.

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