Okay, we're confused. So you're telling us that this isn't just a picture of the same girl striking 5 different poses?
Last night, the Miss Teen USA pageant's Twitter account posted an update on the final five women competing to become Miss Teen USA: Miss North Carolina Emily Wakeman, Miss Nevada Carissa Morrow, Miss Texas Karlie Hay, Miss Alabama Erin Snow, and Miss South Carolina Marley Stokes. The Twitter world was quick to point out that the five contestants look strikingly similar, not to mention the glaring fact that they're all white women with blonde hair and beautiful light eyes. What is wrong with this picture?
Chrissy Teigen, queen of all things sassy and real, didn't let it go unnoticed, tweeting, "Wow how can we choose from such a diverse bunch."
Wow how can we choose from such a diverse bunch https://t.co/0a4JHbP465— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 31, 2016
Her tweet got 152K likes and 88K retweets, sparking a backlash of tweets poking fun at the five look-a-like contestants, including these spot-on comparisons:
Following the surge of tweets about the lack of real diversity in the pageant, Chrissy reminded everyone that they should not place blame on the five women. She tweeted, "It's fiiiiiine. Not their fault. I'm sure they are delightful women. Just funny. I'm not gonna write a think-piece on a damn pageant." Because Chrissy Tiegen is a boss ass b*tch.
It's fiiiiiine. Not their fault. I'm sure they are delightful women. Just funny. I'm not gonna write a think-piece on a damn pageant.— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) July 31, 2016
She's absolutely right, we can't blame the five women for the hierarchy of discrimination that exists in the pageant world. Nearly half of the 51 contestants were caucasian blondes, while barely one sixth of the contestants were women of color. Beauty pageants are a reflection of the U.S. and what qualifies as "beautiful" by our societal standards, and the fact that all five finalists look eerily similar shows a lot about the way Americans percieve beauty. Angry Twitter users pointed out that this can, and will, have an effect on children and teens. When they look at these blonde bombshells being awarded for their beauty, they'll question their own diverse skin colors, hair, eyes, and bodies—and that's not something a young girl should ever have to wonder.
On the flipside, it could be simple coincidence that the top five Miss Teen USA contestants were all fair-skinned and blonde. After all, our current Miss USA is Deshauna Barber from District of Columbia, the first woman actively serving in the U.S. Army Reserve to win the title (you GO, girl!). In fact, four of the five finalists in the Miss USA pageant were women of color. These strides in the right direction often go unnoticed or under appreciated.
Take the swimsuit competition—the Miss Universe organization eliminated that portion of the pageant recently, and opted for a more healthy, empowering athletic wear portion. Doing away with the bikini-clad contestants was a huge step in the right direction for the pageant world, but they've still got a lot of work to do if they ever want to make a true difference in what America percieves as beautiful.