My friend Lauren (who is a huge contributor, as you may have noticed!) sent me this article. It’s REVOLTING! The perfect example of how to send the wrong message to girls. Not to mention completely degrade them and take away their sense of self, individuality and independence. Unfortunately, we have insensitive idiots (sorry to insult, but I’m THAT mad) in positions of power trying to define beauty. Read on: Article by Yahoo! ShineFifteen-year-old Olivia O’Neil recently won the title of Miss Teen Wanganui, but her reign was short-lived. According to The New Zealand Herald, Facebook photos surfaced of her newly dyed brown hair (she was blond when she was crowned), and pageant organizer Barbara Osborne was incensed. “Is that a wig?” Osborne wrote. “I hope it is, don’t give me heart failure.” Olivia admitted that she had in fact dyed her blond hair dark, and said that if she wasn’t allowed to dye her hair, then maybe pageant life wasn’t for her. “Well you better decide, miss. Hand over your crown with an attitude like that. I’m sure someone will step into your place with manners,” said Osborne, adding that O’Neil “would not go far in this world.” Olivia gave up her crown and went straight to the Herald. “I don’t think you can tell a 15-year-old that they aren’t going to go very far in life,” she said. “It’s hurtful. She was always really harsh on the girls. And when she says things like ‘present yourself better,’ ‘wear lots of makeup,’ ‘do 20 sit-ups,’ it gets to you after a while.” Pageant spokesman Jevan Goulter confirmed with The Herald that her crown was stripped because of the hair dye. “The expectation in holding the crown [was] that she maintain the image she had when she won it,” said Goulter. But is that an expectation or a clearly stated rule? He insisted that O’Neil’s claims of harsh treatment behind the scenes are an exaggeration. “In a beauty pageant, it’s not about sugar coating and providing lip service to the girls. They should be treated the same way as in any other beauty pageant in the world.” We reached out to Jevan Goulter ourselves for a comment on O’Neil’s standing. He responded, “I would like to make very clear that Olivia never had her crown taken off–she gave it back. The organization never removed it from her.” Goulter continued, “It was never about her changing her hair color. It was about the attitude and the communication breakdown.” He said the pageant has offered Olivia and her father the opportunity for a live television debate to discuss the matter. “We would like to see them accept this offer if they are completely confident about everything that they have said.” * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * I’m really happy that Olivia gave up the crown and I hope it sets an example for young girls not to conform to the strict beauty standards the world tries to impose on them. This exposes the truth about beauty pageants, though – that it is not all glamour. It’s a lot of pressure. The “advice” that Barbara Osborne gives the girls in the pageant is awful – but unfortunately they are messages that are echoed all around the world – things like “present yourself properly” by “wearing lots of makeup” and “being a certain physical standard.” Not to mention – telling a fifteen year old that they won’t “go far?” That can be a fatal self-esteem blow at such a young age, when you are developing. It’s sad, it’s awful but we’ve got to be proud that Olivia stood up for herself.