Posted: Jun 10, 2014 9:00 AM
Calling Miss Indiana USA Mekayla Diehl's figure "normal" is like calling a salad covered in ranch healthy. C'mon America, she deserves more credit than that.
Photo credit: Stacy Revere/ Stringer/ Getty Images Entertainment

Oh how brave she is. Really?

At Sunday night's Miss USA 2014 pageant, Miss Indiana USA Mekayla Diehl made it to the top 20 but was then eliminated after the swimsuit portion of the competition. She could have been among the other nameless 49 contestants that did not take home the crown. Instead, social media lit up with praise for the Elkhart County native, calling her brave for looking "normal." Uhhh, if we're calling Diehl normal, I would do nearly anything to be just "normal."

The thing is...

Diehl is not normal. She's oh so not normal when it comes to the "average" woman in America. Depending on where you get your numbers, "normal" in America is considered to be a woman who wears between a 12 and a 14 dress size. Diehl would drown in a dress that size. Diehl is not normal. She's extraordinary. Not because she's got a bangin' body (which she does) but because she has the guts to stand up for herself within an organization which praises women for their beauty and, yes, oh-so-slender physiques.

In response to many tweets of support for Diehl, she responded, "So cool. I worked hard on my body without obsessing over being too skinny and I couldn't be more proud.” Awesome. The fact that she is proud to admit that not only does she work hard to get that amazing and healthy-looking body (not crediting having great genes or the metabolism of a hummingbird, but rather her own dedication) without succumbing to the pressure that must bear down on her constantly in the pageant world but also that she is confident enough to fight back against the expectation for stick-thin figures.

I hope they see that their future isn't decided by their parents or what their past decisions are.

She wants more than the crown

In a recent interview with local station WNDU, the 25-year-old beauty revealed that as a young girl she was the victim of sexual abuse by a friend of the family, against whom her parents decided not to press charges. She moved in with her grandmother, who unconditionally supported her. Because of her experience, Diehl now advocates for child abuse awareness through Bashor Children's Home in Goshen, Indiana. She told the station in the interview, "I hope. I hope they see that their future isn't decided by their parents or what their past decisions are. That means the most to me. Because I hope they can look at me and see that, yes, I'm a pageant girl, but I had a dream and I worked very, very hard for it. And I didn't let my past define me."

She's not only inspiring to young girls, but to grown-up ones too. Like me. I hope we can stop praising Diehl for being normal because she's so much more than that.

Share with us!^ Do you think Diehl's physique should be considered "normal" because she didn't succumb to the stick-thin ideal of what a pageant girl is supposed to look like?

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