I read on Feministing.com a couple days ago that a Lebanese immigrant won yesterday’s Miss America title. And while there is no love in me for beauty pageants (well, except for the Little Miss Sunshine kind), I, along with Feministing, thought this was saying something:
Fakih is likely the first Arab American, Muslim or immigrant to win Miss USA. If nothing else this says something about shifting standards of beauty in a culture dominated by representations of white women as attractive.
And although the first thing that popped into my head when I read the above paragraph on their site was how “exotic” looking women have always been deemed attractive because of their foreign quality (the kind of fetishism that we used to call “orientalism”), I really have to agree with the last sentence of their analysis:
Because what’s more mainstream “American” than competing in and winning the Miss USA contest?
Nothing, right? Congratulations, Rima Fakih. If you weren’t already, you are now officially part of the club.
*title taken from this post