Much can be said about the triviality of beauty contests, particularly from a second wave feminist perspective: “It objectifies women, it glorifies looks over brains, it’s sexist, racist, a waste of money and resources, a purposeless title.” The list goes on.
Whatever your personal views, you may be able to agree that beauty’ contests have come to represent much more than beauty. Our very own Toni-Ann Singh’s triumph as Miss World 2019 is perhaps the perfect example of this for many reasons:
- A Celebration of Beauty AND Brains
Not only is Miss Singh incredibly beautiful, she is also bright and hardworking. She has a degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies with plans to complete her Master’s or even attend medical school in the future. We saw her thoughtfulness display in each interview she gave.
- A Celebration of Talent
As her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing” proves, Toni-Ann Singh is also an incredibly gifted singer. She has even been trained in classical opera.
- A Celebration of Culture
As Toni-Ann Singh said herself, the competitors were not there representing themselves, but their countries, displaying their culture in costumes, music and dance. She not only made history but put Jamaica and her home town of Bath, St. Thomas on the map. We all felt immense joy and pride when she turned to the camera and addressed her home country, saying “Jamaica, wi likkle but wi tallawah!”
- A Display of Beauty with a Purpose
Winning the Miss World competition means more than just parading around in a pretty tiara for a year. Miss World winners take on philanthropic causes and do a lot of charitable work. Miss Singh, who says she is eager to get to work, is passionate about female empowerment, is an advocate for mental health awareness and she hopes to use her title to work for sustainable change for women and children.
- A Display of Women Supporting Women
The other star of the night was undoubtedly Miss Nigeria, whose ecstatic reaction to Miss Jamaica’s win went viral as a wonderful show of support from one friend to the next. Toni Ann Singh also showed support for her competitors calling them her “sisters” and offering them her assistance should they ever need it.
For the first time in history, the winners of all five major beauty pageants (Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss Universe and now Miss World) are all black women, a major step forward for representation on the international stage and an important step away from standards of beauty being dominated by white, Eurocentric views.
Congrats Toni-Ann Singh!