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Image Credit: L-R: Miss USA 2016, Deshauna Barber and Miss USA 2015, Olivia Jordan.The 65th Annual MISS USA® competition airs live from the T-Mobile Arena at MGM Grand in Las Vegas Sunday, June 5 (7:00-10:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.

4 feminist moments from 'Miss USA' & one area that needs improvement

Miss USA. You’ve probably dismissed the telecast as an antiquated piece of sexism. Look, it’s not like I can fault you; pageants, like all things, have their pros and cons. But it would seem the Miss USA organization is intent on making sure viewers realize their organization is with the times, that it respects women and wants to empower them to be all they can be.

This year’s production of Miss USA really drove that intention home. In fact, they bludgeoned the viewers over the head with it. While the “empowering women” message was driven home so much it started seeming like the program insecure with itself — like it knew that it was retconning itself from decades of helping frame female beauty standards — there were some great, feminist moments. Here are four of them, plus some commentary on one area that needs to be worked on for 2017.

1. “Define Beauty”
The telecast started off with a video package featuring the contestants discussing how they defined beauty. No one said they defined beauty by what makeup someone used, how skinny someone was, or the type of style one implements. Instead, the contestants defined beauty by what’s in someone’s character. Compassion, strength, fearlessness, dedication, fitness, diversity, and other qualities were what described beauty to them. So, right off the bat, the show and its participants wanted to let viewers know that the women competing weren’t just vapid, beauty-queen stereotypes. They are well-rounded women who are beautiful inside and out.

2. A focus on individuality
The program wanted to make certain that we knew these women weren’t cookie-cutter. I’ll admit that it was a little laughable that the audience was told that the women chose their own swimsuits and evening gowns to express their individuality, but there were other, more serious ways in which the contestants’ unique qualities were conveyed. They are women in the medical and teaching professions. They are women who are serving in the military. They are women speaking out against injustice.

They are also women hoping to give young girls positive role models: They want young girls to know that having mental illness shouldn’t be stigmatized, and that the phrase “loving the skin you’re in” isn’t cliché. The contestants are such that they were able to stand above any focus on aesthetic beauty; they were able to showcase their individual selves, including their individual personal style.

3. Intersectional beauty
The top three Miss USA contestants were all women of color. That’s something that’s amazing in and of itself. Pageants like Miss USA have, in the past, been guilty of adhering to certain narrowly defined beauty standards, specifically, Eurocentric beauty standards. Part of any feminist practice should be intersectionality — seeing the sisterhood in women of all skin tones, cultures, and backgrounds.

As a pageant system, Miss USA and its judges (who were also a multicultural group) saw the beauty in women who are too often disregarded in the media and in fashion. That sends a message to young girls of color who watched: They too can see themselves as beautiful.

4. Miss District of Columbia’s win
The win of Miss District of Columbia, Deshauna Barber, was celebrated up and down social media. I’m sure it was celebrated in many homes as well. Why is it so great? Well, she’s not just a black Miss USA — she’s a dark-skinned Miss USA. The politics of colorism is a real thing in America, and many darker-hued girls still feel dismissed and ugly.

Even in Hollywood, lighter-skinned black women are able to get more roles (and more meaningful ones) than their darker-skinned counterparts. Seeing a dark-skinned black woman crowned means so much to so many people. She’s also military officer, showing that women can not only serve in the military with honor, but they can hang with the men and be just as tough, if not tougher. Ms. Barber is also stellar at giving in-depth, sophisticated answers on the fly. Watch:

All in all, Barber is going to serve the Miss USA brand fantastically, as well as bring the organization toward the type of future it seems to want to be a part of.

Now, what’s the thing Miss USA needs to work on?

Introducing fuller-figured contestants
The organization made strides to recognize women of all sizes by having model Ashley Graham as a correspondent. But, as Graham herself said during the telecast, it would behoove the organization to actually add fuller women into the contestant pool. Having Graham interview the girls deemed acceptable to represent their states says a lot about body politics. If someone like Graham is good enough to interview contestants, then someone like Graham is good enough to compete on the stage. Many American women are size 16 and up, so we need to start seeing folks like our friends, family, neighbors, and ourselves on stage, celebrated for our beauty.

What did you think of Miss USA? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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