For decades, society has held extremely unrealistic beauty standards for women. To be fair and glowing was beautiful. To be slim was beautiful. To have an hour-glass shaped body with thick straight hair was beautiful. Anything other than this was deemed unattractive. And it was made worse by advertisements, beauty magazines, and of course, beauty pageants.
So when a South-African woman was crowned Miss Universe 2019, women of the world seemed to let out a breath of relief!
According to a report by News18, Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa was declared Miss Universe 2019.
Among 90 other contestants, she won the judges heart with her answer to the question, “What is the most important thing you should be teaching young girls today?”
“The most important thing we should teach young girls is leadership. It’s something that has been lacking in young girls and women for a long time, not because we don’t want to but because of what society has labelled women to be. I think we are the most powerful being in the world and that we should be given every opportunity. That is what we should be teaching these young girls to take, to take up space. Nothing is more important than taking up space in society and submitting yourself.”
Watch the video here:
— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 9, 2019
Tunzi also used the Miss Universe platform to speak about the “ubiquitous” beauty standards set by society. She expressed how young girls who looked like her and women of colour have never been made to feel beautiful. She urged children who have been victims of biased beauty standards to look at her as an example of how beauty isn’t restrictive to a certain kind.
For a woman of colour to be crowned Miss Universe is groundbreaking and shatters societal norms in so many different levels. People of the internet took to Twitter to congratulate Tunzi and express how the world is slowly changing and is more accepting of various definitions of beauty.
Congratulations Miss South Africa, the new Miss Universe @zozitunzi! Agree with you…leadership is the most powerful thing we should be teaching young women today. We welcome your visit to #OWLAG, our Leadership Academy for Girls 🇿🇦🇿🇦🇿🇦 https://t.co/YL0NeO40QU
— Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) December 9, 2019
Congratulations to our #MissUniverse2019 @ZoziTunzi. I too hope children the world over will see their faces reflected in yours & be inspired to believe in the power of their dreams. May young women continue to take up space & leave an indelible mark on society, just as you have. pic.twitter.com/Bn4tDhvX0o
— Cyril Ramaphosa 🇿🇦 #StaySafe (@CyrilRamaphosa) December 9, 2019
— Shubhang Bahadur (@shubhangbahadur) December 9, 2019
— Lasizwe (@lasizwe) December 9, 2019
— Tebogo Mphahlele🇿🇦 (@Tebo_Mphahlele) December 9, 2019
I was so moved by @zozitunzi your words. You inspire so many girls. Thank You for setting the standard and using your platform to encourage women and children in our country. We love you❤️#MissUniverse2019 #MissUniverse #ZozibiniTunzi pic.twitter.com/62UtzvE2vx
— goffel (@MeganShinese) December 9, 2019
Wear your crown with dignity black child, Well done & CONGRATULATIONS South Africa. We have the potential in all good things to succeed. Rid our country of evil doers; This country can achieve again. #ZozibiniTunzi #SouthAfrica #MissUniverse #MissUniverse2019 pic.twitter.com/OPGUtQXSC2
— Man’s NOT Barry Roux (@AdvoBarryRoux) December 9, 2019
#MissUniverse2019 She has made us tremendously proud as a country but most importantly she has taught us that you lose nothing by being yourself. She has open doors for other brown skin girls who were afraid to try coz they felt like they aren't pretty enough. Thank you Queen♥️ pic.twitter.com/CbmD83Tweb
— Thatharingo (@Thabz_Zincume) December 9, 2019
SAME SKIN THAT WAS BROKEN BE THE SAME SKIN TAKING OVER… If ever you’re in doubt, remember what mama told ya; Brown Skin Giiiirl ya skin just like pearls, THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD💃🏽💃🏽 #ZozibiniTunzi #MissUniverse2019 #MissUniversePhilippines2019 pic.twitter.com/uvqc1Nz5Nt
— YT:TSHOLOFELO MOKOPANELE (@Mokopanele_T) December 9, 2019
In a world of conformity , being yourself is the most powerful thing you can be. We lead by the light of our example! 👌🏾🇿🇦. Congratulations gorgeous girl! You’re a bright shining star 🌟#MissUniverse2019 #misssouthafrica pic.twitter.com/CJYIWbBotB
— First African Barbie Role Model🌺 (@Miss_LIRA) December 9, 2019
Each time a woman of colour is recognised in a global platform, conventional beauty standards begin to crumble and start forming a new, more inclusive definition of beauty.