After watching the Miss USA pageant over the weekend, I was completely surprised at the media storm surrounding one contestant’s body. Even more surprising was the fact that the media was drawing attention and praising her for being the only “normal” contestant all based on her body size and shape alone.
I hate to be the one to break the news, but nothing you saw on that stage was normal. Couture gowns, professional makeup artists, months of personal training and hair extensions are anything but normal.
The contestant in question, Miss Indiana, has even stated herself that what you saw on that stage is not her normal body. She trained and worked hard for what you saw on that stage. Let’s be real: Her body is in better shape than 90 percent of the women in America.
Even more so, I’m okay with that. Miss USA is a beauty pageant; it’s designed to be entertaining and to be on live television. I watch it and I already know that I’m going to see girls who are professionally made up by a professional hair and makeup team.
It seems America can't comprehend anything without first judging and making comparisons. Is it because we have to find some sort of relatable aspect to an entertainment-based beauty contest to make ourselves feel relevant? We isolate the one contestant that looks the most relatable and label her as normal just to make ourselves feel better.
It’s disappointing that the media chooses to publicly define what is normal based off of someone’s size and weight instead of spinning the pageant as a positive opportunity to highlight young women who are out in their communities making a difference.
Actually, it's not just the media -- it's all of us.
Instead of being able to relate to this young woman for her high grade point average, her community service or her drive to pursue her goals, we all tried to make her relatable based on her looks.
The labeling of the word "normal" has become something that is based around our looks, bodies and weight instead of our intelligence, character and ambition.
Sure, these girls subject themselves to being judged; it's a contest. However, we have completely missed the opportunity as a society to start engaging young women in positive discussions about not only beauty, but also about what normal really means for young girls in the world today. We missed the point and in turn, missed out on a great lesson.
I know there are plenty of people who don’t think beauty pageants are the right example for young girls, either, but I would much rather have my daughter grow up wanting to be a Miss USA contestant than the star of "16 and Pregnant." Basically, if you’re looking for the positive in something, you can always find it (and vice versa concerning the negative).
There were 51 girls on the stage who all looked different because beautiful doesn’t have some sort of boxed definition that fits inside the lines. Beautiful should never be normal or have a normal definition.
Every single girl -- even before the spray tan, makeup and hair -- needs to know that what's on the inside is already enough. Confidence, drive and ambition are the traits that will always make someone shine brighter than anyone wearing a shiny, size two dress.
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