Friday, February 26, 2021

Beauty Pageants: Why we all love to hate them

There is so much hullabaloo in the country right now as the new Miss Botswana, Suimaya Marope, has been crowned the winner of the most coveted beauty title in the land.

The 22-year-old Limkokwing student has had to receive not only the crown, a Mercedes Benz, a year’s supply of fuel from BP and the tuition cover of 50 000 pula that go along with being the winner of the pageant but is also receiving criticisms that seem to dog all beauty pageants.

People from various quarters have had their fair share in commenting on the young winner, some citing the apparently ‘controversial’ gay question that she had to answer in order to win the title.

Other know-it-alls have gone on to outrightly ridicule the beauty pageant and criticise the models for being involved in a competition that is all about beauty and no brains.

That aside, beauty pageants all over the world seem to be a contentious issue. Everyone has something to say about them, and yet they are never without a following. Sometimes one wonders what would happen to the millions of ‘commentators’ if pageants such as Miss World and Miss Universe were to be closed.

Or should one be wondering what would happen to those bevy of beauties? The thought makes me shudder!

The truth of the matter is that beauty pageants are just one of those things in life that we all love to hate. Fathers, mothers, sisters, husbands, politicians, clergyman are all but a few of the faithful followers of pageants. It is because of this diverse following that beauty pageants mean so many things to different people.

Unlike sports, such as soccer, whose fans agree that a goal is one when a player shoots into the net past the goalkeeper, what does one use to denote beauty? Beauty does lie in the eyes of the beholder.

Take, for example, a husband watching a beauty pageant with his wife. He will occasionally grumble at how indecent it is for those little girls to be wearing nothing other than their swimsuits, yet secretly thanks the heavens for this godsend as he gets the chance to see the latest shapes and sizes on the market.

The same wife sitted next to her husband will lament the loss of culture in today’s society as the young girls walk semi-naked. Unknown to both of them, she keeps on watching the pageant as she desperately wants to find out what these girls use to stay slim and trim. The years of labour and breastfeeding do take their toll.

Pageants mean many things to different people. Probably that accounts for conversations in public places where people are overheard saying, “That one should have won”, or “I don’t think she deserved it because she wasn’t the most beautiful girl”.
Conversations such as these clearly show that everyone is their own judge.

Whatever we judge beauty pageants to be, let us agree that they are here to stay as long as beautiful people will continue to be among us. Only those who advocate for pageants to be solely about brains should rethink their position. In case they have not noticed there is a real reason why we call them beauty pageants and not brain pageants!!

Those who want to show their genius should consider joining The Weakest Link, a quiz game show and let us ordinary people be.


Read this week's paper