I don’t like getting too serious on my blog – this is my happy place where I share with friends and followers and make snarky, yet always in good fun, commentary on a myriad of topics, etc. However, I feel as if I have to address an issue with last night’s Miss Universe Pageant.
I, like many others, was confused at the inclusion of Miss Canada in the Top 13 semi-finalists during Sunday’s Miss Universe pageant. In a highly competitive field of 86 contestants, Miss Canada, in my opinion, was neither facially beautiful enough, nor physically fit enough, based on her body type, to have been considered a top contender in the most prestigious “beauty pageant” in the world. Why is this important? Over the years, beauty pageants, along with many other segments of the beauty industry, have been under fire for their “negative messaging.” Popular buzz words like “body shaming” are thrown around, as if the mere presence of a competition that showcases beauty of face and form, “irresponsibly,” and by its very nature, causes women around the world to feel poorly about themselves.
Last night, I cracked a joke (yes, a joke) about Miss Canada’s appearance – the very same appearance she submitted in a public forum to be judged. I was then berated for “being the reason why women develop body image disorders and kill themselves.” I understand if some thought my comment was in poor taste* (we have comics of all types for a reason and my pageant commentary is always prefaced with a disclaimer, prior to the event, that it is meant to be strictly satire) or if they disagreed with me and found Miss Canada to be worthy of a finalist position. After all, beauty is a matter of opinion, right? However, not allowing someone to have an opinion on a subjective beauty contest, is what I consider “irresponsible.” This is why we, as a culture, feel as if we are perennially walking on eggshells. Miss Universe is, quite literally, a competition to judge the facial and physical beauty of a woman. You must be beautiful. You must be physically fit. Dems the rules. Why then, do we not treat the beauty industry like we treat any other sport? After all, isn’t Miss Universe the “Super Bowl” or “Olympics” of beauty?
If Tom Brady quit exercising, lost the muscles in his arms and was no longer able to throw game-winning touchdown passes, he would be fired. His job is to be in prime physical condition and to throw the ball – far. You wouldn’t call the Patriots head office or tweet at the NFL demanding that Tom Brady be given his job back because you need to accept quarterbacks of all bicep strength would you? If Michael Phelps applied to grad school and, because of a semester of late night pizzas and beers, put on 20lbs and was no longer the fastest swimmer, would you petition the Olympic Committee to give him a gold medal anyway? Do these arguments sound ridiculous to you? So does including a woman in the Top 13 of the Olympics of Beauty when she simply did not come prepared.
Perhaps what beauty pageants need is a true set of objective criteria on which they are judged? In years past, what I have observed is that Miss Universe’s job is threefold – to be in prime physical condition (and yes I believe this can be objective), to look beautiful and to be a goodwill ambassador. Competing for Miss Universe is HARD work, it’s a privilege and an honor. To not take this opportunity seriously is what really grinds my gears.
I love pageants, so I do my research and this is where I was disappointed. Miss Canada is not a naturally “curvy woman.” She is a woman who won the Miss Canada Universe pageant in June 2016 and gained a noticeable amount of weight by Miss Universe in January 2017. Whatever personal reasoning she may have had aside, she is a woman who came unprepared for the job of Miss Universe as I know it.
(Miss Canada prior to Miss Universe)
(Miss Canada at Miss Universe)
But, to be fair, Miss Canada is not to blame here – she simply utilized the opportunity given to her. This strategic move to keep Miss Canada in the competition was clearly seen in the pre-written talking points (which were shared during the rehearsals, before anyone ‘knew’ who the finalists were), stating “women of all shapes and sizes” had made this year’s finals. This narrative ran throughout the pageant. Once backstage, Miss Canada was “coincidentally” directed (i.e. quite literally wrangled by stage crew) to the backstage contributor, to discuss her “positive body image.” Throughout the weeks leading up to the pageant, Miss Canada was singled out for interviews and highlighted. I found this patently unfair to all of the other contestants, many of whom had genuine, inspiring stories to share. I felt Miss Canada’s story was manufactured and not truly representative of women all over the world who struggle with the way that they look and finding contentment with their bodies. I felt it did a disservice to true movements that have been encouraging women to “love the skin they are in.”
And if we want to address the issue of “body shaming,” can we then stop shaming women of EVERY size? My newsfeed is riddled with: “So glad we don’t have an anorexic commentator.” “Thank GOD Kate Upton is the ‘Sexiest Woman Alive’ and she’s not a size 2!” Some women are naturally a size 2! Stop making them feel like their bodies are offensive. Can you please simply learn to love yourself and stop letting other people’s figures, or how the media portrays them, dictate your own body image?
And my final statement on this – Miss Canada is a very attractive young woman with a better than average body. But, Miss Universe has always been about spectacular beauty. She is often not supposed to be a mere mortal! She’s the greatest beauty in the UNIVERSE! I think it’s OKAY that Miss Universe is “unattainably beautiful,” as long as she has a relatable and loving heart. Those women do exist (Hello, Pia Wurtzbach!). The Miss Universe pageant seems like it has simply gotten lazy. My hope is that they start looking for truly spectacular and inspiring women again.
Again, my posts are always meant to be in good fun, but will not always necessarily be in good taste. 😉
Stay tuned for upcoming posts! XOXO – Allyn