A beauty pageant contestant with something as visible as a side tattoo seems as impossible as a girl representing her state with a third nipple (though we definitely tune in to see that too). For the Miss America pageant preliminaries, Miss Kansas (Theresa Vail) proudly donned her bathing suit with the large "Serenity Prayer" piece stretching down the length of her torso and an insignia for U.S. Army Dental Corps on her shoulder. Vail, a military service member, is running on a platform of "empowering women to overcome stereotypes and break barriers" and says she would be a hypocrite if she attempted to cover a part of who she is.
Could this be a shift in how our country as a whole views and accepts "non-traditional" beauty? Pageants are considered the ultimate form of stereotypical (and sexist) objectification, yet in the last decade or two, like Vail's platform, women have felt increasingly more empowered by the ceremonies and the life stories of the girls who participate. Granted, a prayer isn't as "threatening" as a skull and crossbones tattoo or a full Mike Tyson face piece, but it is a small victory, right?