Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Rise and Fall of Beauty Pageants …

By Clarice Theys

These days I'm the Social Critic at the Coast and writing for the Namib Times on a Tuesday ... this is my second contribution ... So, here it goes … I've promised to talk about the rise and fall of … hmmm, let’s see – beauty pageants!!!

Those glitzy events where young girls have to put on the most extravagant costumes, expensive hair- and make-up and other accessories like jewelry and shoes … some times bankrupting eager parents who fall in the trap of a certain social condition called ‘complying to others’ requirements’. Mind you, sometimes the parents are more adamant to win then their girl kids … a type of ‘You’ll-win-this-title-for-ME-syndrome’.

Now, I have no personal objections against beauty competitions per se. I even acted as a judge way back in the days and quite recently also helped a close friend to organize … well, if you could call selling a few tickets and promoting the event through our local radio station organizing, then so be it!

I also do not carry personal convictions that such pageants promote the idea that girls should be valued mainly for their physical appearance. I’m aware though that it does put tremendous pressure on girls to conform to traditional beauty standards where they spend time and money on fashion, cosmetics, hair styling etc.

Earlier this year I almost got myself to be involved in the current Miss Swakopmund Beauty Pageant, but for me it felt like I would commit too much if I had said ‘Yes’. Luckily I was too busy with my own little things and could decline without hurting my friend’s feelings …

But the truth is – when I believe in something, I tend to over-commit and given my personal convictions of what such pageants entail, I would have worked myself into a coma …

You see, I believe that after the Beauty of Beauties has been crowned, this young girl has an enormous responsibility. I believe that it shouldn't be a ‘fly-by-night’ event – meaning that one shouldn't only see this girl that night of the crowning with maybe an appearance or two thereafter and then only again the following year when she hands over the crown to another.

This beautiful, intelligent, hugely energetic and hardworking girl should be seen throughout the year. I mean, if you’re going to use all the above traits and talents – which in the first place were what the judges were looking for - we want to indeed see you everywhere!

While watching the crowning of the recent Miss World, I was amazed by how much effort the various participants put into their endeavors to win the title. This specific competition’s slogan ‘Beauty with a Purpose’ actually forces participants to find a cause in their own countries and work very, very hard.

I know the magnitude of the Miss World competition might not be a fair equation to our local ones, but it won’t harm if aspirant beauty pageant organizers at least ask these questions before embarking on such an event.

* What are my objectives for the Pageant? * What traits am I looking for in this young girl? * When schoolgirls enter, how will I, as the organizer and responsible adult, assist her in her current activities? * How many events and charities will she be attending throughout the year of her reign? * How will I manage the pageant and the reigning queen so that they receive maximum exposure in the media?

That way it will receive much more credibility and support and I’m sure it can’t be too difficult! Until next time, take charge!

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