12 Dec Black Women Reign Supreme in 2019 Beauty Pageants
Credit…Paras Griffin/Getty Images; Steven Ferdman/Getty Images; Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports, via Reuters; Paras Griffin/Getty Images
If you were tuning in on the Miss Universe Pageant last Sunday, you witnessed a historical moment. For the first time, all major beauty pageant crowns are held by black women. Although, none of these positions are filled with a black woman for the first time, it is a first for the stars aligning to create a queendom of this magnitude.
Photo Courtesy of @zozitunzi on Instagram
For a very long time, the pageant world has been under fire for being outdated, out of touch and simply not promoting enough diversity. The importance of this momentous occasion lies in the fact that it sends a powerful message about the standards in beauty in our society. As the newly crowned Miss Universe, South African, Zozibini Tunzi, so eloquently stated in her final answer, “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. 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.” A statement that has garnered both positive and negative response, but ultimately took her to the crown with Miss Puerto Rico as First Runner Up.
The beauty “mold” is being shattered with these inspiring women, as visiting professor at Brown University Hilary Levey Friedman, who is working on a book about beauty pageants, states that “a new definition of what it means to be a pageant winner was being embraced in this era when questions of equality and inclusion are increasingly urgent.” and in her research found that the amount of women of color participating in pageants has considerably increased.
“The idea of what we think is beautiful has expanded,” she said. “Skin color. Body type. Curly hair. If you look at all this year’s winners, they look like themselves.” says Levey. “So many people have the stereotype that beauty queens are blond, have light eyes and a Barbie doll body,” she said. “Now you don’t have to look like Barbie. There are different versions of beauty and they are being accepted.”
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