beauty · Video · women

Fear of a brown beauty

Check out my latest piece in ABC’s The Drum on the controversy around the first desi Miss America Nina Davuluri. Pageantry has always revolved around stringent feminine ideals and patriotic representation. So what happens when the winners start to challenge national stereotypes?

Rules of the pageant: a challenge to the stereotype

I have to make a confession. As a little girl I loved watching beauty pageants.

I remember in year five my school friends and I used to record Miss Universe competitions and swap videotapes at school. We’d marvel at the sparkly costumes and glamorous-looking women in heavy make-up.

Like little girls playing dress-ups, the accoutrements of femininity the Miss Universe pageant women possessed seemed mysterious and enticing to us. Heels, make-up, curves, desirability, all promising a passport into adulthood.

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