After Miss Venezuela was selected as winner of the Miss Universe beauty pageant for the second time in a row, and which was the sixth Venezuelan in the history of this pageant to win, the Venezuelan blogosphere exploded with pride and joy. Once again, the country holds the attention of the world focused on the beauty of Venezuelan women, when Stefanía Fernández was crowned.
Nevertheless, within all the pride of the incredible hard work that every girl participating in this kind of contest has to pass through, some Venezuelan bloggers question the real pride behind an industry that has had such an impact on Venezuelan culture. Leaving aside the large number of online notes and posts about the excitement of having a new Miss Universe crown in Venezuela, there has been another parallel online discussion that has questioned cultural interests, concepts of beauty and hard work, and actual pride.
Grets, in her blog I'm F***ing Fantastic [es] has a more categorical point of view:
..no es que yo les esté mostrando una realidad alternativa, sólo que ustedes se empeñan en vivir en un logro ficticio, por una corona que no importa más que 9.000 niños muriendo de hambre en una noche tan linda como esta; un certamen que no sólo se hunde en el mal gusto sino que da pena que un país en sus tristes condiciones esté celebrando ante los ojos del mundo su desgracia.
It is not like I am trying to show an alternative reality, it is only that all of you are insisting in living a fictitious achievement based on a crown that is not more important than 9,000 children dying of hunger on a night as beautiful as this one. This is a pageant that not only sinks in bad taste, but it is also shameful, being this a country in a sad condition, celebrating its misfortune in front of the eyes of the world.
Also, Luis Manuel of the blog Voyage [es] tells the story of how, in Paris, he changed his mind on what he used to consider one of the prides of his country:
Antes, andaba yo orgullosisimo de vivir en el pais de las Miss Universos y de las Miss Mundos, el pais con las mujeres mas lindas del mundo.
Y fue un simpre crepero,(…) quien se encargó de estropear mi orgullo ridículo. “Ahhh tu eres de Venezuela?” me preguntaba mientras reía, “es verdad que ustedes tienen una escuela para formar misses? que gracioso!” “es verdad que desde pequeños tienen concursos en las escuelas para elegir a la niña mas bonita?. Que cultura!”.” Es verdad que es uno de los paises en donde se hacen mas cirugias plasticas? y gastan dinero en eso?, que superficiales!”. “Es verdad que es el pais del mundo que gasta mas cosméticos per cápita?, y teniendo gente que muere de hambre?. Qué contraste!”
Eso me hizo reflexionar, en verdad de lo estupidos que somos en esta sociedad!: tenemos el mismo sistema organizado de captar, formar y desarrollar talentos del mundo desarrollado, pero en vez de cientificos o deportistas, formamos misses!. Es verdad que las mujeres aqui son especialmente bellas, pero de que nos sirve tener tantas Miss Universo?,
Before, I was very proud of living in the country of the Miss Universes… the country with the most beautiful women in the world.
But it was a simple crêpe seller, who was the one who broke my stupid pride. “Oh! You're from Venezuela?” He asked me while he laughed “is it true that you have schools to train beauty queens? How funny is that! Is it true that when the girls are very little there are pageants to choose the prettiest? What a culture! Is it true that yours is one of the countries where the people have the most plastic surgeries? and spend money on that? How superficial! Is it true that it is the country that spends the most on cosmetics per capita? and has people dying of hunger? What contrast!”
That made me think, truly how stupid are we in this society!: We have the same organized system to capture the attention, shape, and develop talent than the developed world, but instead of scientists or athletes, we shape misses! It is true that the women here are especially beautiful, but what good is it for us to have so many Miss Universes?
In addition, a lot of people on their YouTube channels have made videos and collection of clips of the exciting moments in which Venezuelan beauty queens have achieved world titles like Miss Universe and Miss World. However, it was ABC Australia who made a documentary (the video can be found here) of the beauty obssession in Venezuela, and how this concept is led by the most important organizer of this famous contest: Osmel Sousa.
This was not the first time that beauty contests were discussed to be superficial or part of entertainment. Nevertheless, taking into account the influence of the Miss Venezuela concept both in media and in people, it is a way to look into the culture's contemporary questions around their ways to see themselves and how they show their image to the world. More of this discussion can be seen in these tweets.