The Subconscious Prejudice

By Maggie Mangiel

A physique competition is a different ball game altogether, aside from the non-existence of the ball of course.  I stepped on stage and basked in that limelight for the fourth time on October 15.  It was my second time as a bikini competitor.  My first two times were in the fitness model category.  But I chose to change to bikini model because I prefer the softer, more feminine look as opposed to being more muscular.  First time competing in bikini, I placed top 10 and second time top 5.  So, it seems to be the perfect category for me since I did not find much success in the fitness model category previously.  I’m happy with my results and I’m looking forward to my next competition, and to more improvement in my physique.  For some of you who are not familiar with physique sports, the bikini category is the division in which the female competitor is judged on her beauty traits, facial and physical, stage presence, and marketability.  Each time, I was the only black woman in a sea of bleached-blonde, super-enhanced barbies.  I have no problem with “purchased” beauty.  God created plastic surgeons, and we sure as hell do not want them to starve.  Thanks to Baby Jesus, I will not be spending my hard-eared money on them, so power to the barbies.  Back to what I was saying, I know I’m not the only black woman with good looks, beautiful physique, and enough courage to flaunt what she’s got.  So the question arises, where are the rest?  Why aren’t there more Black Canadian females competing in the bikini division?  I thought I would share my feelings and opinion on the subject with you and let us consider them for a second.

First of all, the weather sucks up here and black people prefer to live in warmer climates.  The population of black women is very slim in comparison to the other races.  Well, there’s nothing we can do about the Canadian cold, so I’m going to leave that alone while sighing deeply with disappointment.  I basically think many black women would like to compete and have what it takes to step on the stage, but the truth of the matter is the bikini division is not “black woman friendly”.  This is a beauty contest, plain and simple.  With people like Satoshi Kanazawa on this planet, black women have some hurdles to clear.  In case you have not heard of him, he is an English psychologist of Asian descent who has written one of the most hurtful pieces of work toward black women, and some people have considered his paper to be the worst thing since slavery.  Good thing someone locked his lips and threw away the key (muahahahaha!).  I think the judging panel has to be diverse.  In my opinion, you cannot put a black woman against 30 white women to be judged by 3 white women, 2 white males, and 2 Asians (well sometimes there’s one black guy or a racially ambiguous “black” woman), and expect a fair judgment.  I’m not calling them racist but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and people tend to identify with people who are similar and closer to their likeness.  So for the improvement of the sport and the advancement of the black woman, I would like to see a panel that resembles the UN and hopefully North Korea does not join (jk…hahahahahaha, nothing against the Asian but Kanazawa just made it so hard for a black woman to look at Asian men without contempt).  This way I feel that my beauty is being assessed fairly, and would not second guess the judges’ integrity and ethics.

In addition, we as black women always think we are better looking than everyone else.  We overestimate our beauty.  Hell, I think I have the nicest “tush” and legs in the whole world, but I’m sure some of you reading this beg to differ.  So, before stepping on stage, we need to logically asses our physique and beauty and compare it to the judging criteria.  We need to be honest with the person looking back at us from behind the looking glass.  Once you truly know your worth, nobody can knock you back, and you can deal positively with people’s opinions and views of you.  Competing once and quitting because you think you “got robbed” or switching to a category such as figure or bodybuilding in which your facial beauty is not considered, or even going as far as traveling to compete in the United States or the Caribbean is not the solution.  The solution is for us to come out with our best, be humble about our looks, and  showcasing them in front of a diverse panel of judges while saying, as Sojourner Truth has neatly put it, “Ain’t I a woman”.

Maggie Mangiel, Fitness Model & Personal Trainer, for War Room Sports

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