Mixed Race In Beauty Pageants

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Being mixed race in a mono-racial society can be quite difficult. We can visualize this through the experiences of Ariana Miyamoto; someone who was born to a Japanese mother and an African-American father. During Miss Universe 2016, Ms. Miyamoto was chosen to represent her country of origin, Japan, but was quickly criticized by many because her appearance did not fit the standard image of a Japanese woman. This is definitely one of the complexities of expressing nationalism in beauty pageants because you’re expected to embody your country on stage, and in front of the world, in every possible way and failing to do so can cause outsiders and (even your own people) question your authenticity and ability to represent your country with dignity.…show more content…
From a personal perspective, I believe everyone has the right to define themselves in their own way, but it’s those who are of mixed race who often face a particular set of struggles when it comes to self-identifying. These individuals are sometimes pressured to fulfill both identities and failing to do so can cause rejection. This can be particularly difficult when it comes to competing in beauty pageants like Miss Universe because how can Miss Japan successfully represent both of her identities without upsetting or ‘letting down’ either group? As a way to examine this, we can use her experience in the U.S where she explains that at first, she felt like she belonged because her dad’s side of the family had her same skin color. However, “She soon faced difficulties fitting in. Frustrated by her lack of native English skills, and treated as a foreign by white and black classmates alike, she found herself growing homesick and pining for Japanese food unavailable in rural Arkansas” (Fackler). That’s to emphasize that through her experiences in the United States she was able to discover that she is really Japanese and according to the article, Miyamoto “has played down her African-American roots, presenting herself instead as a representative of ethnically mixed Japanese from all backgrounds” (Fackler). This leads us to argue that Miss Japan has chosen to construct and represent her
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