Something else to dislike about beauty pageants: they create expectations about what women from different cultures “should” look like. Spectators booed Kiwi model Jacinta Lal, 21, when she won the MissIndiaNZ pageant in Wellington, New Zealand, because she told the New Zealand Herald some “small-minded people” thought she wasn’t “Indian-looking enough to win the pageant.” But despite her blond hair and blue eyes, girlfriend is part Indian: Jacinta’s father is half-Fijian and half-Indian, while her mother is a white New Zealander. Thankfully, the pageant organizer has got Jacinta’s back and said it’s a shame pageant fans cannot accept her as just another lovely Kiwi/Indian girl. I can understand how a pageant that would typically be full of women of color could make people upset if a woman with blond hair and blue eyes wins. Hello, dominant beauty standard for the past, oh, 300 years! But there’s a lot of harm in defining what a beautiful woman is supposed to look like in any way. Excluding people from cultural pride celebrations because they aren’t “enough” anything isn’t right, in my opinion.
In any case, with each passing generation, narrow definitions will keep getting even more irrelevant and we’ll all be one lovely mix of every color in the rainbow.