Thick Dumpling Skin

[It's what's on the inside that counts]

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There She Is, Indian Miss America


When I was a little girl, I’d often watch The Miss America or Miss USA Pageant with my family.  My parents had amusing commentary, usually along the lines of, “Lynn could do that” and I would dismiss them, knowing someone who looked like me would never be accepted in a world dominated by blonde-haired, blue-eyed women.

Tonight, not only was Nina Davuluri the first contestant of Indian Heritage to be crowned, but her runner-up was also Asian-American, Miss California/Crystal Lee.  

Honestly, the racist reaction isn’t surprising to me.  It’s what I imagined, as a child, that I would hear when it finally happened.  I just can’t believe it’s taken SO LONG for this to happen.  

FYI our new queen also struggled with body image and eating disorders:

She is sick of the pain caused in America by use of the word “skinny.” Davuluri is aware of the impossible body image too many girls equate with “beauty contests,” and she knows about clinical associations between eating disorders and childhood pageants.

She has struggled with her weight since she was a child, and she thinks the American emphasis on being slender is a false and dangerous ideal, leading too often to a destructive path.

For that reason, she declines to reveal what she weighs now - not out of vanity, Davuluri said, but because she worries about girls who might try to make her ideal weight into their own goal. She said the perfect weight, for any individual, is the plateau where you are healthy and feel good about yourself.

Davuluri hopes young women watching the pageant will contemplate the healthy aspects of what she calls her “weight loss journey,” and she said the weight that she’ll take onto the stage is hardly a level she’d define as “skinny.”  

Congrats, Nina.  

- Lynn

Filed under miss america beauty culture nina davluri indian racism lynn chen

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