Miss Universe: Worldwide Women’s Empowerment
by Mimi Thomas
I never grew up doing pageants. Even though I am from Southeast United States, where pageants are extremely common, it wasn’t such a common thing in my hometown. The only pageant I ever participated in was my high school’s pageant, during my senior year. Even though I had no formal “pageant” skills, I still had a blast, and it was so much fun to dress up and look pretty for the night! It was such a thrill walking out on stage with the bright, fun music, and high energy. It certainly gave me a confidence boost, and showed me how to express myself through movement!
However, my high school’s pageant doesn’t quite match up to Miss Universe.
There has always been a negative stigma associated with pageants, for many different reasons. Many may say it’s only a contest with outer beauty, or puts too much pressure on women to look a certain way. Unfortunately, women have won pageants solely on their appearance, and have felt the pressure to look a certain way in order to win a pageant. In the grand scheme of things, those are two small negatives that cannot match the positives that come through pageants.
I watched Miss America last night from beginning to end. The first part was the costumes, and I was amazed by the creativity and thought behind the costumes that each woman wore to represent her country. I was also amazed with how they all presented themselves on stage. They all ROCKED it. I was mesmerized by the head masks worn by Miss Puerto Rico, Miss Curaçao, Miss Chile, Miss Aruba, and Miss Dominican Republic (just to name a few off the top of my head!) wore. The simplicity of Miss Greece, Miss Ireland, Miss Turkey, Miss Slovak Republic, Miss Norway (also just naming a few) were also breath-taking. All of those women represented their country’s culture in some fashion, whether it was simply using the colors of the flag, or wearing a traditional outfit. The costumes really embraced just how unique our world is, and how unique women are around the world. In simpler terms, it showed just how diverse beauty is globally.
After the costumes, they announced the finalists, who would be the women competing in the rest of the pageant. The rest of the pageant consisted of the swimsuit section, as well as the formal gown section. One of the biggest things I noticed is that beauty came in all shapes and sizes during the swimsuit section. Some women were more petite than others, while some women had bigger busts and hips than the others. The best thing of it all? They all looked beautiful and HEALTHY. A couple of them stumbled over themselves while walking out on stage confidently, but you know what? They picked themselves right back up and didn’t even flinch!
The evening wear was my favorite, and allowed me to see the personal style of the fabulous finalists and have the chance to get to know them better with the short videos about them. It truly inspired me to hear Miss Japan’s story of her hardships growing up, simply because she didn’t look traditionally Japanese. Miss France’s personal story of experiencing the terror in Paris a month ago allowed me to put things in perspective of what happened- facts with stories backing them.
By now, the ending of the pageant has gone viral. The host, Steve Harvey, made a mistake by crowning the wrong woman for Miss Universe. During this confusing and heating time, I beamed with pride when Miss Colombia still kept her head high, and Miss Philippines was extremely humble about her sudden title earning. Those are true examples of women with high class and poise, which should be taken notice by women worldwide.
Yes, pageants are all about the glitz and glamour, but one cannot win a pageant without poise and class. If anything, women worldwide learn to keep their heads held high, the fact that beauty comes in all different shapes and sizes, and to keep going if you trip and fall from pageants. They truly empower women to be the best they can be, which is something that women worldwide should promote and instill in one another. Can’t wait for Miss Universe 2016!