Critical Commentary: Muslim Beauty Pageant Shows They Are Just Like U.s.

Posted on October 14, 2013 by


Muslim Beauty Pageant Shows They Are Just Like U.s.


The World Muslimah pageant took place in Jakarta, Indonesia this year. This is a pageant similar to Miss America or Miss World but only young, Muslim women are allowed to compete for the Miss Muslimah title. This year’s winner is Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola from Nigeria. She is 21-years-old and after winning her title got down on her knees and recited a Qur’anic verse. This competition is annual and is meant to promote beauty and power among women of the Islamic world.

In society today women are often thought of as beautiful based on certain attributes. Beauty is defined by the outward appearance by what skin is showing, whether a woman wears makeup, what their hair looks like, and how flattering and stylish their clothing is. It is commonality among women to not only desire to be beautiful but also sexy. Today sex appeal is what most often is represented in the media. Magazine covers rave about beauty and as well as nightly talk shows. Also, rarely is a movie produced that lacks a sex scene or even a romantic scene where the woman is represented as desirable. This idea of sexy is often lost or not associated with religion, in particular Islam.

This news has made headlines because it is an event Muslim women are stereotypically thought not to partake in. Women of Islam are often thought to stay in the shadows and to not draw attention to themself. This competition’s goal is to represent Islam as beautiful and fashionable. It is supposed to encourage young women who are beginning followers to embrace their beauty while still following the Islamic traditions. As stated in the article, Obabiyi “will work to promote Islam internationally and to help popularize the hijab, or Islamic headscarf.”

The hijab carries its own stereotype. People outside of Islam have opinions such as the hijab is demeaning to women. Or, it carries a stigma in the United States that women who wear a hijab are terrorists or associated with terrorists. Unfortunately the hijab has far more negative connotations associated with it than positive thoughts. In fact Islam as a religion often has more negatives than positives connected to it in the U.S..

A Miss Muslimah pageant does more than just promote beauty among Muslim women it works to defy the stigmas attached to Islam. Unfortunately it seems like a long path until Islam is not associated with terrorism or Muslims are not feared in the eyes of Americans. I believe an event like this needs to be brought to the United States. Miss Muslimah needs to be seen as something in competition to Miss America. Although this year Miss America pageant winner was ridiculed as not being American it is a step in the right direction. This article not only shows Muslim women they should be proud of their religion and embrace being beautiful in their Islamic traditions but shows outsiders that Muslims participate in the same life activities as non-Muslim people too.

A simple article can bring up many controversial aspects other than what solely is being reported. Media has ways of turning a simple report about a Miss Muslimah pageant to trigger other thoughts and ideas. Islam is a particularly precedent matter in the United States. This article defies the common idea of where a woman’s place is in Islam yet it does not address the fact of Islamic fear. I believe a popular event like this will cause change among young Muslim woman and may introduce a hijab fashion fad in countries outside of the U.S.. It may also encourage a change in the definition of beauty but again will only become a fad outside of the U.S.. I believe these changes are phenomenal but changing the view of Islam and Muslim in the United States what needs to become a fad.

Herawati, Yenny. “Muslim Pageant Combines Beauty and Religion” Khabar Southeast Asia. 21 Sept. 2013. Web. 12 Oct. 2013.

Posted in: Islam