I would like to address an event that’s near and dear to our hearts–read: a raging controversy in some circles and up for passionate debate–the Miss USA pageant. Yes, that one, run by Donald “These are the most beautiful women…oh and I guess I should say they’re smart too…did I mention I’m rich?” Trump. I’m not gonna dissect pageant culture right now, except to say that the whole discussion of beauty standards still applies (except that, ya know, there’s no androgyny in this line-up). Instead, I’m gonna jump right into the important stuff: they made a music video. That’s right, all the contestants dusted off their mime skills, busted out their best dance moves, and jammed to Carly Rae Jepsen’s musical classic. As Carly Rae would say, you should know that, so if you have no idea what I’m referencing, go watch and then continue reading.
1. South Carolina is wearing gold sequins. Approve.
2. I love NY because she’s miming/dancing like she lives for these moments (0:29) and I’m liking the bold purple and green~~props to you, NY.
3. Who is the awk man at 1:29 (boy band import?) and, more importantly, 1:57? Anybody else reminded of a bad werewolf impression?
4. New Mexico is working it while riding backwards on an escalator (1:41). Skills.
5. If I were in this, I would be Virginia at 1:48. Yep. All of the time.
6. Oh heeeeeeey there 1:26. Can we talk about the massive dose of queerness that just popped up? Now they’re dancing at 2:45~~this is love.
7. There are matching bikinis.
8. Dear Donald Trump, until you came into this video, I did not miss you at all. Why the awk cameo at the end? You’re fired.
Autostraddle recently released its annual line-up of the 100 “Hottest Queerest Women in All the Land.” For those of you who don’t spend your time fawning over queer culture websites (who are you?!), Autostraddle is a popular site for “news, entertainment, opinion, and girl-on-girl culture.” What does this actually mean? It means all the women (and others) of the queer (and other) persuasions just freaked out about how much we all loooooooooooove Tegan and Sara and OHMYGODRACHELMADDOOOOOOW!!
As usual, this year’s list is full of myriad talented, accomplished, and very attractive individuals. But flipping through the pages, it’s impossible not to notice that most of them look pretty similar. There is certainly some diversity of gender presentations–I’m always happy to see that–but the vast majority of these women are white. Moreover, they’re predominantly young, slim, and white. I counted fewer than 20 women of color on the list, as well as the cast of The Peculiar Kind, grouped together as #64. None of them are in the top 10.
How do I know the exact number of women of color on this list? I don’t. It’s obviously not possible to decipher a person’s racial and/or ethnic identities just by looking at them or their name, but it’s apparent that the list is dominated by light skinned women, most of whom are repping similar sizes and body types. So really, what this list tells me is that Autostraddle has rounded up yet another group of people who embody queerness as something that belongs primarily to young-ish, thin-ish, white people. This misrepresentation happens all over the place. Queerness is generally marginalized in mainstream everything (shocking to hear, I know), but as long as the few queer individuals that do appear show only a sliver of the queer community (the white, cisgender, and usually class-privileged sliver), then we’re continuing to divide and marginalize within our supposed community. And that shit needs to stop.
EDIT: Apparently some clarification is needed. The problem is not a lack of out LGBTQ people of color. The problem in this case is that there’s a wide array of women of color who are routinely overlooked in favor of white women, who get the bulk of the recognition and publicity. We cannot pretend it’s some sort of accident that hot people lists–and other images of which bodies our society/media consider beautiful–are overwhelmingly white, unless they’re specifically categorized as POC. The same goes for ability, body type, size, and cis/trans* status. This shit is old and needs to be changed like now already.