Being the Face (Mr. and Miss. International)

Each year, OU holds an event called Mr. and Miss. International. Similar events are held for different cultural groups of which I was also able to catch a couple, but this one was of the most international importance and is one that I’m still trying to work through the pros and cons.
What I find best about this event is the chance for many students to come and volunteer to showcase their home culture while competing. There is a good mix of show and fun, the variety is huge, and students really get to make this competition their own. I’m lucky enough to know Mr. international and I have mad respect for his work for international students throughout the year.
Overall, I do have a slight negative feeling about pagent style events such as this one. With names such as “Miss. International”. I know it’s all in fun, but I worry that there’s an idea behind it that one international student guy and one international student girl can be named the face of all international students at the University of Oklahoma.
Too often, those of us from the United States try to shrink the experiences of all into the box of one experience. We try to say that all people identifying as xyz should have the same experience as this one we’ve picked. Granted, because this competition is ran by the International Students perhaps I think too far into this. I spoke about my perhaps less popular thoughts on this event later with a participant who did not win, and he assured me he didn’t feel that way.
He said to him it’s all in good fun and another chance to showcase to others their culture and their experiences while at OU. I take this as a good view on it, and accept that, but do believe that all should be cautioned not to think that just because we know one person from a specific country, religion, culture, the list goes on that that person is not completely representative of all the others. We are all varied and different. There is no one face to anything.

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