Skin Colour and the Beauty Queen

Anonymous student post

Nowadays there are various types of beauty pageants being held in different regions in the world. Each region chooses the person who they think is the “prettiest” to represent their areas. Different countries has their own judgment on “beauty” and in most countries, people with lighter skin tone get picked as the beauty queen. In the past beauty contests held in different places of the world, there have been various controversial issues raised regardless to the skin colour problems.

Torika Watters, who is of mixed European and Fijian heritage was the winner of 2012 Miss Fiji, but she has been stripped of her Miss Fiji title by the organizers after she won the contest. The organizers told her that she could not win the contest because she is too young, but the actual fact was that because she does not look Fijian enough. She has white skin and blonde hair, which is not the features of a Fijian, therefore her Miss Fiji title was taken off and runner-up went on to the Miss World 2012 pageant.

Also, Nina Davuluri, the winner of Miss America 2014, is an Indian American, and she is the first Indian American who won the Miss America pageant. She has brown skin and dark hair, and not the American features everyone else thinks of. On the day she won the contest, there were many issues talking about whether she is suitable to be Miss America or not.

“If you’re #Miss America you should have to be American,”

“WHEN WILL A WHITE WOMAN WIN #MISSAMERICA? Ever??!!”

These were just few comments attacking Nina Davuluri on the Internet and the public were not satisfy with the fact that an Indian-American won the Miss America title.

These are just two of the examples on skin tone and beauty contest. For me, I do not think that skin tine should be a factor when judging whether a person call as a beauty queen or not. Skin tone should not be a matter as different people see beauty differently. Some people may think that having light-skinned is better but there are also people who think that dark-skinned is beautiful as well. We should not limit the standards of being a beauty queen just by judging people’s skin colour. Everyone should have the same rights and chance on titling as the beauty queen in all beauty contests and should not kick them out of the contest just because their skin colour or other physical appearance is different from others.

References

Shears, R. (2012, May 13). White Miss Fiji winner who was caught up in race row stripped of her title because she is too young: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2143735/torika-watters-white-miss-fiji-winner-stripped-title-shes-young.html

The Guardian. (2013, Sept 17). Miss America Nina Davuluri brushes off racist criticism after victory. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/16/miss-america-winner-racist-criticism

CNN. (2013, Sept 17). Miss America crowns 1st winner of Indian descent. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/16/showbiz/miss-america-racist-reactions/

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Mestizaje and the social gap

by Yuan Mingyang

Villarreal (2010) conducted research on social stratification by skin color in Mexico, and found that people with lighter skin usually have higher education than people with darker skin. Villarreal also found that people with lighter skin usually have occupations with better social status and higher salary. Navarrette (2012) also noticed that the jobs with higher salary are usually for people with lighter skin. The author suggested that people can see people with lighter skin “on television, in politics, and in academia”, while people with darker skin are often found “on construction sites, in police forces and in restaurant kitchens” (para. 11).

What’s more, the ideology of mestizaje in Veracruz, which makes people try their best to “clean the race” and lighten their skin color (Sue, 2009), may further enlarge the gap of education, financial power and social status between people with lighter skin and people with darker skin in Mexico. According to Sue, many people in Veracruz prefer lighter skin and European body features, even for those who are dating people with darker skin. Therefore, a large proportion of people in Veracruz would choose people with lighter skin as their partners. The author also mentioned that it is not acceptable for everyone to marry someone with lighter skin. The author claimed that many partners of men with darker skin who are rich or have high social status usually have lighter skin.

Since Villarreal (2010) argued that there is a stratification of skin color in Mexico, it is a reasonable conclusion that the number of poor people with darker skin is larger than the number of wealthy people with darker skin. Therefore, the descendants of this relatively small proportion will leave other people with darker skin behind, who are expected to be poor, and become people with lighter skin. As a result, the financial gap between those who have lighter skin and those who have darker skin will be enlarged. The situation in Mexico is not like that in the US where White people tend to get better jobs.

In Mexico, two trends of force enlarge the gap. People with lighter skin can get better jobs in Mexico, which means that they are wealthier. In the same time, the skin color of wealthy people is getting lighter and lighter. The ideology of mestizaje gives no chance to most of people with dark skin color in Veracruz, who are treated unequally while still believing there is only one Mexican, since there is race blindness in Mexico, according to Sue.

References

Navarrette, R. (2012, November 20th). In Mexico, racism hides in plain view. CNN. Retrievd from http://edition.cnn.com/2012/11/20/opinion/navarrette-mexico-racism/

Sue, C. A. (2009). The dynamics of color: Mestizaje, racism, and blackness in Veracruz, Mexico. In E. N. Glenn (Ed.), Shades of difference: Why skin color matters (pp. 114-128). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Villarreal, A. (2010). Stratification by skin color in contemporary Mexico. American Sociology Review, 75(5), 652-678.