"Judges in Sao Paulo, Brazil will pick the winner of the 2011 Miss Universe Pageant Monday night, and there's a good chance that the winner will be 'Western-looking.' Even if that contestant is from Asia, Africa or Latin America," Jamie Blair groused in an op-ed yesterday afternoon at the International Business Times website, hours before a dark-skinned contestant from Angola won the beauty pageant.
"[I]t is sad to see that almost every one of the women in the competition look like they were pulled from the University of Texas," Blair groused, lamenting how "Miss Malaysia, for example, is half-Irish Deborah Henry, who is certainly beautiful, but not the most typically Malaysian-looking woman."
"While I'm sure she deserved to win her country's spot in the pageant, she is just one example of how pageant judges around the world lean westward," Blair complained, apparently defining "Western-looking" not in terms of fashion or cultural values -- evening gowns and parading about in bikinis are decidedly Western conventions -- but in terms of skin hue:
The pageant has the opportunity to teach people, especially the young girls around the world, that beauty comes in all shapes and colors. Instead, when young women tune in, they will primarily see one standard of beauty.
And yet, hours later, Angola's Leila Lopes -- whom IBT describes as a "25-year old dusky beauty" -- won the pageant.
"Click on the slideshow to grab an eyeball of the beautiful women who took part in Miss Universe 2011," that article concluded, linking to photos of Lopes in her evening gown and swimsuit, as well as photos of the runners-up.
Update: Apparently IBT was off the mark with their early predictions, failing to include Lopes in their slideshow of the "Top Hottest Miss Universe Contestants Who May Win the Crown."