I became as giddy as a kipper when I heard the news that Miss USA was going to be hitting our screens on Sunday July 12th. As an English gal who knows absolutely nothing about beauty pageants — aside from watching Alana's escapades on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality — I was so curious that I began to do a little research. And that's when I started freaking out about Miss USA. At first, I was freaking out because I was excited; flamboyant costumes and evening gowns are my drugs of choice and I knew there was going to be plenty of glitz and glam. Then I started to get all giddy about the insane makeup looks and hairstyles that I would never be able to recreate perfectly in a billion years.
I scooted over to the official website and the more I saw, the more I began to freak out in a bad way. You know those moments in horror movies when everything's going really well and you get lulled into a false sense of security, just before the killer comes and performs some disgustingly brutal act of violence on your favorite character? My face went from goofy, heart-eyed emoji to wide-eyed and mouth agape within seconds. Here's why...
There is no denying that the Miss USA contestants are drop dead gorgeous. In fact, once I started to look at the competitors' pictures, I just couldn't draw my eyes away from their perfectly coiffed hair, their dazzling outfits, and the cool backdrops and props used in their photos. However, it soon dawned on me that if you were to put these images in black and white and cover their faces, you would have no idea whose body you were looking at. Every single one of the women flaunted a small, toned physique with the only slight difference being in breast size; some had smaller boobs and the largest must be about a D in cup size.
I began to wonder where all of the other "types" of bodies were. Where were the cute, podgy tummies, the no thigh gap thighs, and the bingo wings? Surely this selection of toned women did not represent the entire population of the United States? Where were all the equally beautiful women showcasing their unique physiques and portraying the incredible female form in a variety of ways? I was shocked.
Not only were these stunning women all of the same body "type," though. What made the situation all the creepier was that they even held other physical appearance traits that made them resemble each other. Check out Miss Arizona and Miss Florida.
They could easily pass as sisters with their long brown hair, perfect smiles, and petite noses. What about the striking resemblance between Miss Pennsylvania and Miss New Hampshire?
And finally, spot the similarities between Miss Vermont and Miss Wyoming; even their head-tilting poses are identical.
It's a little unnerving to think that in this competition — which is bound to be viewed by millions of people worldwide, not just in the states — the viewers are being shown only one "type" of body in a contest of beauty. Does that mean that all other women who do not fit within these guidelines are not beautiful?
In this day and age, when diversity is supposed to be celebrated, women are being shown that the epitome of beauty is a slender woman with long hair, a toned stomach, chiseled cheekbones, a small nose, and a Hollywood smile. We're basically talking about Barbie dolls here. Yes, there are a handful of women of color among the contestants, and a couple of red heads, but the vast majority of the women competing are white or white-presenting, with brown or blonde hair. Where are all the plus size women? Where are all the women with rainbow hair, piercings, and birth marks?
If I were on the judging panel of Miss USA 2015, I would be looking to see a variety of contestants, not a lineup that makes it look as if the contestants all just walked out of Stepford. I'd be looking for women who are beautiful on the outside and inside, body confident no matter their shape or size, and who had something that made them stand out from the rest.
For the sake of all women and girls who are comparing themselves to this handful of competitors, we need more diversity in beauty pageants.