Ain't nobody got time for that.
There’s been a shakedown in the beauty pageant world and Sandra Bullock would probably have some choice words to say about it. Zoiey Smale, who was recently crowned Miss UK, has abdicated the throne after being told by organisers to ‘lose as much weight as possible’ if she wanted to win.
The mother of one was told she had to drop from a size ten in order to stand a good chance of winning Miss United Continents in Ecuador, which she was scheduled to compete in this September.
A director of the competition brought up her weight and Zoiey pressed them for more answers.
She told MailOnline, ‘Out of the blue, it was really random, she rang me and said ‘I’ve had some feedback from the international director.’ I was like, ‘OK, fine I’m always open to new ideas’. She tried to put it tactfully but I knew exactly what she was getting at.’
‘She said to me, ‘They want you to go on a diet plan and they want you to lose as much weight as possible for the finals.’…It was one of those things, in the 21st century you don’t actually expect people to be this blunt.’
Zoiey was so taken aback by the body shaming that all she could utter was ‘pardon’ before hanging up the phone. Two weeks later, she finally got back in contact about handing back her crown.
Zoiey told The Telegraph, ‘I think it’s important to empower women and know it’s OK to be healthy, educated and a good role model. I didn’t hand my crown over straight away. I was going to go out of protest, however what example would that be setting?’
‘I’m not big at all I’m just bang on average. I just think to be told to lose as much weight as possible for a competition, why would people say that? It’s horrible and it made me feel so rubbish about myself for a long, long time.’
This isn’t the first time that the beauty pageant world has come under fire for its narrow view of female beauty. For example, former Miss Universe Alicia Machado was publicly weight-shamed by pageant owner Donald Trump back in 1997 when he made comments about her including ‘this is somebody who likes to eat’. She was also made to undergo a strict diet and exercise routine, which hit its peak when he ambushed her during a workout with reporters.
More recently, Miss Iceland 2015 Arna Yr Jonsdottir also lambasted a Las Vegas pageant after a director told her she should begin skipping meals saying, ‘Stop eating breakfast, eat just salad for lunch and drink water every evening until the contest.’
Love them or hate them, beauty pageants may be a holdover from more sexist times but they have the real potential to show the world what an empowered, beautiful woman looks like – regardless of her shape, race or even their birth gender.
Until we start holding competitions like Miss United Continents responsible for their power over society’s perception of women, we’re going to keep falling down this same rabbit hole and encouraging a one dimensional vision of beauty. Ladies – big, small, short, tall – it’s time to get in formation.