Miss Indiana's attitude is inspiring
Say It Again Samm
Friday, June 13, 2014 8:44 PM
"I'm confident in my own skin. I didn't obsess over being too skinny or not being tall enough. I knew that I would be going up against some girls that were 6'1" and professional models. That's them; I'm celebrating who I am."
That’s what Miss Indiana Mekayla Diehl, 25, said in a People magazine article this week.
The Miss USA contestant has gained popularity on social media sites and much praise for having what the Twitterverse is calling a “normal body.”
The 5-foot, 8-inch 135-pound Bristol native appeared curvier than most of her competition Sunday night during the Miss USA pageant, and though she didn’t even make it into the top 10, viewers definitely know who she is.
Some Twitter users and bloggers are speaking against the praise Diehl has received for being normal, saying she isn’t comparable to the average American woman.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American woman is about 5 feet, 4 inches, tall and 166 pounds, with a 37 1/2-inch waist.
So, Miss Indiana isn’t comparable to the average woman, or what I would call normal, but her figure is still beautiful.
And her attitude toward her weight and size is inspiring.
It’s refreshing to see a Miss USA contestant who isn’t a size 0 or 2 or 6-feet tall and doesn’t obsess over her weight.
She’s happy and confident and looks healthy. And as a contestant, she helps prove women of all body types can be contenders for the crown.
Diehl said she has an athletic build, having been a college volleyball star. She worked with a personal trainer and nutritionist to achieve the figure she displayed Sunday night.
What’s most important about the attention Diehl has received is the impact it will have on young girls and women struggling with their own bodies.
By seeing a beauty queen who is curvier, teenage girls struggling with eating disorders may feel better about themselves.
It’s important to shine the light on the charities and causes Miss USA contestants represent, but it’s just as crucial to realize the impact these contests have on the viewers.
I always enjoy watching the Miss USA pageant and others like it, but I can’t help but wonder the negative effects that may accompany them. Most girls don’t look the way these women do, and young girls and teenagers are very impressionable.
These pageants, like magazine covers, TV shows and movies, can send the message that what a woman looks like is far more important than her actions and thoughts.
Miss USA is not just a beauty pageant. The women who participate compete with hopes of advancing personal and humanitarian goals and seek to improve the lives of women around the world. But those aspects of the contest are often overlooked.
That and the message that may be sent about a woman’s worth are scary to think about.
But what’s happened in the media since Diehl showed off her curvy, bikini body is one of the many positive outcomes of these types of contests.
Although Diehl wasn’t crowned Miss USA Sunday night, she still a winner.
"If I'm inspiring, then in the end, I've won in more ways then I ever could have imagined,” she said.