This year, the 72nd Miss Universe pageant felt a lot different to me, and to the people worldwide. For the first time ever, the coveted pageant had a plus-sized contestant and the moment was as historic as it gets.
As the first-ever plus-size Miss Universe contestant, Miss Nepal, Jane Dipika Garrett, shattered the decades-old mould of beauty standards. As an advocate of body positivity, her presence brought a refreshing and much-needed change to the pageant. And to me, honestly, her participation felt like a triumph for women worldwide. Even though Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios secured the crown, Miss Nepal’s entry was groundbreaking and a beacon of hope for young girls aspiring to redefine societal beauty standards.
While Jane’s inclusion in the pageant will go down in history, I felt it took them a bit too long for such a change….it was long overdue for sure. For many decades, these pageants have made us think that ‘beauty’ is supposed to look a certain way but that’s not the case. Beauty is diverse and far from a one-size-fits-all affair. It’s about time that such pageants start re-analysing it all. So, while Jane’s entry is certainly a step forward, it’s also a reminder that there’s still a long way to go in reshaping beauty standards for the better. Here’s what some of my colleagues think about this new change:
1. Too Little, Too Late
I feel like it’s refreshing to see a pageant become more inclusive. But, it’s too little, too late. We need more changes, better changes so that it’s a platform for ALL women. Also, it should’ve always been inclusive to begin with. That said, Miss Nepal is making it better for a lot of women, and that deserves acknowledgement. – Manya
2. It’s Progressive
“I think it’s progressive and inclusive of the pageant to include a plus-sized contestant. We’re finally realising the power of influence and representation. The more young women grow up seeing plus-sized women in spaces such as these, the more they’ll feel comfortable in their own skins.” – Harshita
3. It’s Late But It’s Still Happening
“Finally a plus size woman in Miss Universe! Took us ONLY 72 years to break this stereotype that beautiful women should have a perfect zero size figure. It’s late but at least it’s happening now. Beauty standards have really shifted in the last few years and this will surely bring more reforms to it! Kudos to Jane” – Gunjan
4. What Took Them So Long
“While I appreciate Miss Universe for FINALLY including a plus-size woman, my question is- what took them so long? Shouldn’t have this be done years ago?” – Ankita
5. Better Late Than Never
“I believe that the inclusion of plus-size models in the Miss Universe competition was a significant step toward redefining beauty norms and promoting a more diverse and inclusive representation of women. However, I do feel that the pageant should have taken this step years ago as they had the power to change the way the world viewed ‘beauty’. Nonetheless, better late than never.“
Jane’s inclusion in the pageant was not the only entry that got everyone talking. Miss Portugal, Marina Machete and Miss Netherlands, Rikkie Kolle were the first transgender women to compete in the pageant. Moreover, Miss Guatemala, Michelle Cohn and Miss Colombia, Miss Camila Avella were the first married women and mothers to be allowed to compete.
Now, was this a strategic move by the Miss Universe pageant or a sincere attempt to shatter the glass ceiling is something that I am yet to decipher. For now, let’s all celebrate what seems like an accomplishment for women across the world.
Featured Image: Instagram