Sunday, the 14th not only boasted a day of love for all mothers out there, but the crowning of Miss USA as well. Kara McCullough, a 25-year-old science enthusiast who represented the District of Columbia went home with a new title and tiara. While all the contestants were fantastic, McCullough took home the gold for sure. What’s more exciting is how hands on the entire pageant was regarding societal values such as diversity, feminism, and even political views.
One question that the contestants were asked was, “what do you consider feminism and do you consider yourself a feminist?” With the Mother’s Day montages of the contestant’s moms throughout the pageant and questions like that, no one could help but be inspired by the sheer woman power in the room. What set apart our winner? Perhaps it was her response, which was that she had made it a point to replace the term feminism with equalism (Walker, 2017.) There has been a somewhat negative context associated with the term feminism, and in McCullough’s eyes equalism translates to women being equal to men rather than above them.
McCullough inspired women all over the nation as she spoke about her career at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Even better, her plans to inspire and push women of all ages in science, mathematics, technology, engineering, etc. Although Miss USA herself demonstrates intelligence, integrity, beauty, kindness, etc., a powerful moment was following the announcement of the top ten contestants. The diversity on the stage among Miss Missouri, Miss New Jersey, Miss New York, Miss South Carolina, Miss Tennessee, Miss Alaska, Miss California, Miss D.C., Miss Illinois, and Miss Minnesota was stirring. In fact, the entire pageant demonstrated diversity and the unique beauty of each women’s culture. For example, Miss New Jersey danced to traditional Indian music, demonstrated her ability to speak Hindi, and more (CBS, 2017.) Miss New Jersey, Chhavi Verg, who studies Spanish and marketing at Rutgers University, immigrated to the United States from India as a child. At that time, her parents had $500 to their name (CBS, 2017.) More so, the contestants for Florida, North Dakota, Hawaii and Connecticut were all immigrants as well and made a point to open discuss what that experience meant. “I want to show American’s that the definition of what it means to be American is changing,” stated Verg.
McCullough also stunned the audience a bit as she discussed healthcare, stating it was a privilege that came with work rather than a natural born right. With the divide among the nation following the recent election, it is moving to see the Miss USA Pageant and its contestants challenging society through a celebration of all the qualities of the contestants.