Beauty pageants are more like a melodramatic movie with all layers of variety – controversy, drama, joy, sorrow, suspense etc. 2016 can be officiated as the year of controversies in the world of beauty pageants. In just 7 months, we have read and heard about a catalogue of dethroning stories. One of the recent dethronements was that of Miss Florida USA 2017 Genesis Davila. Genesis was stripped off her crown on the grounds of violating the rules and regulations of Miss Florida USA pageant.
Genesis’ dethronement didn’t really go well with the masses and many claimed that Genesis was UNFAIRLY dethroned by the pageant director who accused her of cheating based on a photo she posted to her Instagram account in the days before the competition. What added more fuel to the already burning anger was the fact that the newly crowned Miss Teen USA 2016 had retained her crown amidst her several controversial tweets wherein she repeatedly used racial slurs.
While one incident made the national headlines, the other resulted in a $15 million lawsuit. But what stirred the masses was the verdict that came along with both the incidents. We are living in the era where a contestant’s social media sense is as crucial and essential as her remaining poised during a personality interview and slaying in the evening gown competition. But the question that is being raised is that if one had to give up the crown why not the other? This question has stimulated its own reason, i.e., race.
The social media is flooded with opinion that Dávila is Puerto Rican–American and Hay is white, and that is the reason why the actions on both the deeds were different. This racial element has the spectators questioning whether the beauty pageant industry’s overall lack of diversity is the real issue. Let’s now sneak a closer look at both the incidents and try and find out what made the masses come up with such strong opinions!!
This year the Miss Teen USA pageant drew criticism from masses before Hay was even crowned. The reason for the criticism was the lack of diversity among the top 5 finalists which included all white and blond. Court Kim, a black model, was one of the critics commenting on the pageant’s lack of diversity. Kim was the one who drew attention to the tweets the newly crowned queen, Hay posted in 2013 and 2014, where she repeatedly used the n-word....
After the tweets went viral, Hay quickly apologised for all that she said, stating on Twitter and Instagram that she wasn’t proud of her previous behaviour...
Miss Teen USA Organisation also announced that it would stand by Hay and stated, "The language Karlie Hay used is unacceptable at any age and in no way reflects the values of The Miss Universe Organization. As Karlie stated, she was in a different place in her life and made a serious mistake she regrets and for which she sincerely apologizes. Karlie learned many lessons through those personal struggles that reshaped her life and values. We as an organization are committed to supporting her continued growth."
On the other hand, Genesis Davila barely held the crown for a week before she was stripped of her title by pageant executive Grant Gravitt. In a statement, Gravitt insisted that eyewitnesses had reported that Dávila using a professional stylist during the competition — and stated that "substantial proof to link her and her vendors to her [hotel] room on an evening which they were not allowed" was available on her Instagram account.
However, the Insta post that Gravitt claimed which showed Davila with stylist Ilde Goncalves showed the timestamp of July 9, a full week before the competition. Goncalves later commented on the post to state that nothing prohibited by the pageant had taken place:
“I did her makeup the day we posted the picture guys . Not the day of the pageant !!! ( look at the dates ) But there is a lot of envy and hate in this world. Genesis is innocent and deserves her crown.”
Davila did not give up and fought back. She served the Miss Florida pageant and its co-owners with a $15 million defamation lawsuit and filed an emergency injunction to prevent the pageant from taking away her title.
This whole scenario gave rise to the thought that two very different beauty queens experienced very different outcomes — possibly because of race!! What garnered more controversy is because of the fact that Miss Florida pageant and the Miss Teen USA pageant are both linked to the same larger world pageant organization, the Miss Universe pageant (although pageants at the state level operate independently from the Miss Universe organization).
Racism is a sensitive topic to raise or even to incur. Controversies these days are taking an unsympathetic place in the beauty pageants, and no matter how effective these controversies are in giving the much needed hike to the pageants, they manage to create a dent and friction in the minds of the spectators and the followers. What is your take on the whole issue? Do let us know in the comment section below...