Beauty pageants aren't necessarily hailed for a history of diversity. Barriers to entry like costs and time often make it difficult for people of colour to be competitive in the pageant scene.
The Miss Teen USA pageant took place over the weekend (Saturday July 30th, 2016) and Miss Texas, Karlie Hay, ended up taking home the honours. Hay's achievement was overshadowed, however, by some very serious questions surrounding the competition's diversity.
Photos of the competition's Top 5 contestants were quickly shared across social media and people were not impressed.
In a competition with 51 contestants and less than 10 people of colour, the fact that the top 5 contestants were a group of eerily similar looking white women certainly rubbed people the wrong way.
the amount of diversity in this pageant is amazing wow so many shades of white and blonde #MissTeenUSA— kim possible (@joidean_) August 1, 2016
#MissTeenUSA I Thought Diversity Is What Made This Country "Great"!!! Are Country Is A Melting Pot How About We Show It Some— Damorris Sapp-Hinton (@DmanSapp) July 31, 2016
Wow how can we choose from such a diverse bunch https://t.co/0a4JHbP465— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 31, 2016
On top of the issues with the pageant's diversity, old tweets from this year's winner were unearthed and people are really unhappy.
It's very clearly not the fault of these five young women. They didn't ask to be chosen among a homogeneous group of 4 of their doppelgangers.
The problem here is that the judges and event organizers made next to no effort to celebrate and acknowledge America's diversity.
Even though the pageant was comprised of mostly young white women, there was an opportunity to highlight women who represented a different standard of beauty than the very predictable blonde haired blue eyed aesthetic.
There's nothing wrong with looking like these girls. They're clearly very beautiful and hard working young ladies. What's wrong is that this is a "beauty pageant". So, when all the beauties look exactly the same, the Miss Teen USA organization is sending a very clear message that beauty comes in exactly one colour, one size, and one package.