Why Miss Michigan of 2016 Matters

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Why Miss Michigan of 2016 Matters

When Arianna Quan was crowned Miss Michigan, she not only was chosen to represent Michigan in the annual “Miss America Beauty Pageant,” but was the first Asian-American to ever be chosen to represent a state in the “Miss America” Pageant. Quan is also the only Asian-American contestant in this year’s “Miss America” Pageant.

Quan is a “first generation” citizen, meaning that she was “the first of a generation to become a citizen in a new country.” She was born in Beijing, China and moved to the U.S., becoming a citizen by the time she was 14.

Despite Arianna Quan’s achievements, she has received mixed responses to her title as Miss Michigan. There was a spur of hatred spewed towards Quan when the news came out that she was Miss Michigan, stating that she was too “ugly” and “fat” to represent the Asian-American community.

Many people would be surprised to hear that this hatred mainly stems from the Chinese community. But, I’m not.

Being a second-generation Asian-American myself, I know for certain that the beauty standards in Asia are vastly different than those in America. If Asian-Americans lean towards American standards, they are chastised for being “not Chinese enough” or disrespectful and ignorant to their heritage. However, if Asian-Americans lean towards Chinese standards of beauty, they are not accepted by the American society.

So it’s basically a lose-lose situation.

Being Asian-American essentially equates to being in the middle of two although great, vastly differing cultures. Finding the balance to please both cultures has essentially proved itself to be impossible.

But I have say that Arianna Quan’s perseverance is nothing short of admirable.

Despite the hatred being thrown by some members of the Asian community towards her, Quan has and continues to advocate for the Asian community by addressing issues such as immigration and citizenship in the pageants. Quan says herself that she’s “always felt out of place, or almost embarrassed about who [she] is and where [she] came from.”

Quan claims that she wants to use these pageants as a platform to talk about these race issues and to encourage first generation citizens to “speak out about their experiences” in a healthy conversation, especially in light of the current immigration controversies (i.e. Donald Trump).

Not only does Quan advocate for the Asian-American community, but also hopes to encourage more women to join fields that are predominately male, or in other words, jobs that are specifically targeted by society for males. For example, Quan is currently studying Transportation Design and desires to work in the predominately male automotive industry eventually. She hopes that her story will inspire other women to join her.

Despite the opposition thrown at Arianna Quan from both American and Asian parties, she still strives to inspire change to aid Asian and American communities alike. And there’s something to be said about someone who can still clearly see their goals through the foggy and murky guise of hatred surrounding them.

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