Miss Indiana Is Praised for Her 'Normal' Swimsuit Body

The country is praising Miss USA 2014 contestant Mekayla Diehl, who represented Indiana but lost to Miss Nevada, because her swimsuit body was totally "normal," which is code for not a bag of bones. Considering how most women in the competition are very, very thin, it is nice to see Diehl confidently parade across the stage wearing a bikini and showing off a few more curves than most of her peers. But we're doing her -- and other women and young girls -- a disservice when we label her physique as "normal."


Before I continue with this rant, let me just say that Diehl seems like a wonderful role model, something that wouldn't change if her hips were five inches smaller. Instead of seeming obsessed with her appearance and weight, the woman focuses on her athletic prowess. She plays volleyball, runs track and field, and says that, in order to prepare for the beauty pageant, she didn't starve herself: she ate healthfully and trained just a little bit harder.

Diehl is 5 feet, 8 inches tall and wears a dress size 4. I guess you could say that's healthier than wearing a size 0 -- assuming that person is starving herself. We sometimes forget that many women simply have thin frames and that "normal" for them IS a size 0 or 2.

But considering how the average woman in America is 5 feet, 3 inches and wears a size 12 or 14, how is Diehl at all "normal"? And what does that word even mean in this context?

Giving Diehl attention for having more meat on her bones than her pageant competitors is a step in the right direction, but we should never use the word "normal" to describe someone's body (and you may have noticed, we seldom use it to talk about men's bodies). Referring to someone's body as "normal" automatically means all other bodies that don't look like Diehl's are "abnormal." It's a meaningless term that hurts more than it helps.

What's "normal" for Mekayla (curves, boobs, but still a size 4) isn't "normal" for someone with a pear-shaped body or a girl who has really large breasts or a size A cup. It's understandable that people would go nuts over a girl who isn't rail-thin, but we should still watch the labels we put on women, even those that are meant to be sort-of flattering.

Do you think it's positive or negative to label Miss Indiana's body as "normal"?


Image via Twitter

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