Universal appeal?

Miss Universe 2007 rehearsals 5

I’ve got a bone to pick with Miss Universe. When is this pageant that bills itself as universal truly going to open it’s competition to the women of other planets? Where are the Venutians?  Martians? Uranians? And that’s just our solar system. What about Klingons, Andorians or Antarians? Let’s really end the prejudice and let the whole universe in and see who really is the real Miss Universe!

But seriously.

I talk a lot about how while growing up I was fascinated learning about different cultures. So naturally I enjoyed watching the Miss Universe pageant more than Miss America or Miss USA. Partly because I got to see all of the beautiful traditional costumes and because it was the only time I’d see women of color in a pageant who actually had a somewhat viable shot at winning. Or at least in my child’s brain that was true. Yes, there were odd things like I didn’t quite understand why the people of some African countries were represented by women with white skin, but later of course I would understand about apartheid.

My idealized version of Miss Universe has long since gone. Colorism and sexism issues are on full display for those who care to take note. But I still tune in usually to see the costumes representing the different nations and then to see who makes it to the top 15 and top 5. I figured the two natural-haired sisters didn’t stand a chance, but there was one lady from Jamaica with a short haircut that seemed promising. When she made it to top 5, I was hoping that for once, just once, maybe hair weaves and cookie cutter looks would be trumped by an attractive woman with a short hair style.

Alas, that was not to be. But the one thing that was kind of exciting was watching this whole thing go down on social media. Everyday people were pulling for Miss Jamaica to win. I wasn’t the only American rooting for her either. That was amazing to see the general public get behind someone who was unique in a beauty competition. It may me feel as if maybe even though organized system still puts forward a singular standard of beauty, the masses aren’t buying it, or at least are starting to call bullshit on it.

This article does a great job of summing up how weird the 2015 pageant got when the Q&A portion of the competition got started. It was just awful. And funny in an awkward way. But hey, this was the original reality TV before that became a genre. That’s entertainment.

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