Not a fan of beauty contests

December 01, 2017
Davina Bennett
Miss Jamaica Davina Bennett at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas last week.
Miss Universe second runner-up, Jamaican Davina Bennett, arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport, Kingston on Tuesday.

I am not a fan of beauty contests. Why? Because they are not a true reflection of what defines beauty for most of the world, only the white ideal oval eyes, aquiline nose, narrow hips and flat butt housed in light skin.

We, the people of darker skin, have become so brainwashed about what defines beauty, many of us have opted for dangerous practices like bleaching and plastic surgery, just so we can look like what we believe to be beautiful.

Everywhere you look these days, you see beautiful, black women wearing horrendous weaves, just so they can whip their hair over their shoulders or constantly pull their hair back behind their ears, just as you see these fair-skinned models do on television.

Unfortunately, this has become ingrained in our culture now, and I guess it will take generations for people of darker hue to start seeing ourselves as being beautiful.

I am not a fan of beauty contests, but maybe what Davina Bennett, our representative at the Miss Universe contest, managed to achieve will begin a process of change for women of darker skin and so-called kinky hair.

She wore her skin and hair with great pride and confidence. She demonstrated that black people don't have to conform to any other ideal of beauty except our own. Her performance was so outstanding, it resonated around the world.

In the USA, a country we try to copy, the impact was evident. American television producer, screenwriter, and author Shonda Rhimes hailed Bennett on Twitter.

"I am clearly going to need some Miss Jamaica dolls for my daughters. So they can play with a doll that shows them they are fully everything the universe ever needed."

Rhimes carries a lot of influence and her remarks open the door for more people of colour to be more accepting of themselves, despite what their society will try to tell them.

It also opens opportunities for business for people locally who can create those dolls that will help shape the narrative of how people of colour are seen and help us to love ourselves more.

Yeah, I am not a fan of beauty contests, but Davina Bennett, a hot, confident, young lady from Clarendon, may have just used one to begin a process of change in the way black people see ourselves. She finished third, but I believe most agreed that she should have won.

The powers that be still hold sway, though, so she didn't win the crown, but she may have claimed an even greater victory for people who look like you and me.

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