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COMMENTARY: 'I became a better version of myself every time I walked that stage'

As a former pageant contestant and titleholder, I'm sick of the negative tweets about pageants.

WASHINGTON — "Are we still doing beauty pageants?" - @SoCalCharlie

"Beauty pageants are still anti-feminist, whether or not your friend is competing in it." - @mrnngv  

"When it comes to their power you hide them but when they strip naked on stage during beauty pageants you rush their with cameras and salivating. Feature girls who are empowered please." - @MuzvareBetty

Those are just some of the negative tweets about pageants and pageantry that I've seen over the years. 

I'm sick of them.

The last time I checked, the women -- not girls  -- who compete for the titles of Miss Universe have had some pretty stellar personal accomplishments. 

I’m not talking about getting to 500 points on Words with Friends. Although admittedly, I’d be impressed. 

There have been scientists, engineers, doctors, teachers and lawyers who have competed for these titles.

 A lot of these women are objectively accomplished and intelligent. Even this girl turned her life around.

She’s now a motivational speaker.

Are you shocked? I’m not. Because I am one of them. I've won some titles and lost others, but regardless, I became a better version of myself every time I walked that stage.

RELATED: First African-American Miss Tennessee takes home 2019 crown

In many ways, pageantry makes women push themselves to be better.

God forbid they should want to be in great shape, read up on the news and wear a beautiful gown in the process. 

And yes, body image disorders are no stranger to pageants. But if our society weren’t so hellbent on hyper-sexualizing women to the point of false perfection, then maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t make women feel so bad about their bodies. 

My pageant sisters have found a platform that helps them give a voice to whatever cause is important to them. 

So ask yourself this: should we as a society be comfortable with shaming women for celebrating what makes them feel amazing?

Let me know your answer. And just know that while you’re @ing me (@arianedatil), you’re welcome to do it in any of the three languages that I speak.

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