Women of Color Reign the Four Major Pageants

Women of Color Reign the Four Major Pageants

Zozibini Tunzi, previously Miss South Africa, has been crowned Miss Universe this past Sunday and made history along with four other beauty queens. For the first time in history, women of color wear the crown in all four major pageants – Miss America (Nina Franklin), Miss USA (Cheslie Kryst), Miss Teen USA (Kaleigh Garris), and Miss Universe. Beauty pageants have been known for excluding women of color in the past and even forbidding them to participate. In the past 50 years, colored women began to compete, but would rarely win against the caucasian women. It’s a big step in the pageant community to be more inclusive and less biased against race. This historic win sends a significant and powerful message to young girls around the world, and it encourages them to stand up against prejudice and break societal standards.

Despite criticism of some outspoken viewers, the pageants have continued. Some say the pageants objectify women and encourage unrealistic societal norms of beauty. Others say that pageants have become more racially inclusive in the past years, but have yet to become more diverse in body types. However, supporters of the pageants argue that they encourage good causes around the world. 

Farragut High School student and dance team member Jaysa Hough gave her thoughts on the pageants, their history, and the historic 2019 win. 

“People have always said [black women] are pretty by our own standards, but not by normal standards. It is a big deal for black women to hold those positions, and it is a very important stepping stone.”

The symbolism is suggesting pageants are moving forward. Pageants have been pressured for years and years to become more racially inclusive and to break through societal standards. So far, there have been a few steps forward, but beauty comes in every shape, size, and color.