Arti Cameron all over my newsfeed

Arti Cameron is beautiful.

See?

No arguments there. Very beautiful and was on her way to med school so probably pretty smart as well. She’s also probably a great person and I don’t like putting a damper on anyone’s party (I mean, I do it but I do it reluctantly, people!) which is why I’ve been trying to steer clear of the whole Miss Guyana Universe/World/Whatever thing given how into it everyone else seems to be.

Guyanese do seem to love this beauty pageant stuff. There seems to be a pageant for all sorts of occasions – I once saw an ad for a Miss Guyana Police Defence Force!

But anyway, getting back to it, Miss United Nations just popped up (surprisingly no one’s saying much about her – didn’t even know about this pageant until it came up on the newsfeed) and Miss Guyana United Nations, Soyini Fraser, won! Well good for her – especially if the pageant, as it claims, is about moving away from stereotypes about what makes a woman beautiful. Don’t know why the parading around is still necessary but a step in the right direction? Maybe. In any case, it got me thinking about Miss Arti and her pageant again.

By the way, Miss Guyana United Nations – I can’t seem to find many photos of her. The one circulating on Facebook:

Miss Cameron, who’s been living in the U.S. for the past 6 years, is our representative at this year’s showcase of international women’s bodies. I vaguely noted when she was “crowned” Miss Guyana and wondered about Guyanese not living in Guyana but coming to Guyana to participate in a Guyanese competition and then winning said competition which consists, at least marginally, in being Guyanese. It boggles my mind. Not as much as women partaking in the heights of female objectification, either by entering these pageants or watching them, but still itches the brain somewhat – in a way I just can’t put my finger on.

I’m seeing these pictures of Miss Guyana and all I can think is:

1) her photographer is pretty great

2) she’s getting great opportunities and exposure as an aspiring model (if that’s what she’s aiming for)

3) a lot of people really do have low expectations for the “daughters of the soil”

and 4) I wonder how amazing the traveling, costumes and access to photographers would have been for a girl from rural Guyana.

Not that you can’t live abroad and still be Guyanese at the same time (although struggle of some sort kind of qualifies the Guyanese experience, I think). Or that you are unpatriotic for living outside. Everyone gets it – more opportunities and so on elsewhere. All I’m saying is it might have been great for another girl who didn’t already have the opportunities to get some even through the dubious channel of a beauty pageant. There I said it!

Now look at this picture of Arti and a tiny cupcake.

Hope you feel better.

Moving onto a more positive topic, Guyanese women – gorgeous, right? You can’t spend a day out and about and not come across a seriously beautiful Guyanese woman. And if someone has to win then yes, I’d be glad if it were her or if she made the finalists because, in some tribal way, I want the world at large to recognize that it’s not just Brazil or India or Mexico that gives birth to conventionally attractive yet “exotic” women. We have all sorts of beauty here in Guyana but even universally recognized Western male dictated fashionable beauty – we have that in spades. And it’s time people recognized.

Yeah, I understand that this is a foolish thing to be proud of or desire because it sort of buys into the whole women-as-ornaments idea. Like Guyanese women are mere extensions of the country and, by being beautiful, they lend prestige to Guyana. Like decor. That’s not something to hang your patriotic hat on. In fact, it’s kind of twisted. But then, if not exactly objectifying, we still tend to reduce our talented/famous compatriots to their talent/fame. Like our poets, for instance. As though Grace Nichols (also a foreign daughter of the soil) is a trophy for internationally recognized artistic skill. Still, this beauty pageant thing is harder to swallow. Mostly because poetry isn’t inherently sexist.

By the by, some more photo ops:

Yep, very beautiful.

I might watch Miss Whatever this year. Sigh.

All photos from a fan page on Facebook.

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6 thoughts on “Arti Cameron all over my newsfeed

  1. beautiful is hardly the word for Ms. Cameron. I think she has a great photographer and loves the spotlight. Much has to be said about “foreigners” going back to compete in a competition where they are supposed to represent a country that they are probably no longer attuned to.

  2. Krysta, another article that grips me. I do agree with you and never look at these Miss Whatevers anymore. I always think that when a single woman is separated as being the most beautiful, it doesn’t help the majority of us in anyway, since it’s saying that, according to someone’s criteria, the rest of us are all ugly or whatever name you’d call us. As you’ve said, we are all beautiful in different ways and the woman who gets her head filled with the idea that she is the most beautiful is playing into the hands of that group of people who define what is universal beauty. Also does herself and other women a dis-service.
    To speak of the the Miss Guyana at the United Nations, with all the crap that’s happening in the world and needs attention,someone had the time and resources to organize this. Well hello, I’ve missed something essential here. Is it okay to represent a country wearing false hair. Sorry I just had to say that. My own pet peeve.
    I am deeply frustrated by all this casting, beauty pageants of women, young girls and even babies. Time to turn to other important matters in the world. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  3. She is somewhat pleasing on the eye, but what else is there about her? I certainly do not know… do the pageants ever say? Beyond “She wants to be a doctor, whatever…”, do they ever expand on the person itself? Other than she’s wearing blah blah blah… and believes in world peace?

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