Arti Cameron is beautiful.
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.