Monday, August 15, 2022

Is beauty really just skin deep?…with Kopano Seduke

I find the popular quote of “beauty is only skin deep”, which is said to have been first found in the writing of sir Thomas Overbury in the year 1613, not entirely true. The year 1613 was a long time ago though and I guess it was before enough thought was put into how beauty can be used to benefit societies and the world at large because between that year and today, we have seen the start and evolution of organisations that saw the importance of beauty and made moves to use beauty for worthwhile causes.

The Miss World beauty pageant was started in 1951 and has since been consistently organised year after year, raising large amounts of money for charity. The Miss World Organisation is said to have raised over two hundred and fifty million pounds for children’s charities over its life period and this to me is a clear indication that beauty can be more than just skin deep.

Some of the events through which these moneys are raised for charity have a very important impact on our lives over and above contributing financially to the under privileged. The contestants in the competition are expected to bring with them from their respective countries a gift that best represents their countries; these gifts are then auctioned to very wealthy people to raise money for charitable causes.

Above raising money for charity, these gifts also get to be seen and appreciated by a lot of people and through this, countries get the chance to expose their cultures to the rest of the world; people get to share and appreciate each other’s cultural differences and this, to me, is a good way of reducing cultural shocks, which normally lead to cultural discriminations.

In the year 1952, the world saw the formation of yet another beauty pageant organisation that has also grown to be a very big and impactful brand in the world, the Miss Universe Organisation. This organisation has been consistent throughout the years and it has taken up HIV/AIDS awareness as its charitable cause of choice.

According to the Miss Universe organisation official website, “because over 41 million people are living with HIV/AIDS ÔÇô 47 percent of them are women and roughly one-third are young people between the ages of 15 and 24; because more than 14,000 people were infected with HIV last year; and because AIDS is the deadliest infectious disease among adults and the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, every Miss Universe has the job of traveling the world to speak on behalf of her official cause, HIV/AIDS awareness”.

This is yet another perfect example of beauty defying the common perception that it is just skin deep. The Miss Universe Organisation also plays an important role in exposing to people the many different and unique cultures of the world, hence promoting cultural acceptance.

In 2010 we saw the then reigning Miss Universe Botswana Queen Tirelo Ramasedi take with her a raw diamond to Las Vegas where she represented Botswana in the Miss Universe international competition; this gave Botswana diamonds good publicity hence rightfully branding our country as a diamond nation. The diamond was also auctioned to benefit the Nevada Cancer Institute and through this, beauty benefited humanity.

We have to admit that beauty draws a lot of attention and has a large audience that can be taken advantage of, so it is only wise to use it as a platform from which important messages can be dispersed and from where important issues can be brought to people’s attention.

Mpule Kwelagobe used the beauty platform in ways that most people can only dream of; because of the attention and recognition this platform gave her, she managed to fulfil her heart’s desires successfully at a very fast rate. In 1999 she established the MPULE Foundation with the aim of addressing the HIV crisis in Botswana; she later founded the MPULE Institute of Endogenous Development which “champions agriculture-led development, inclusive green growth, gender equality, women’s and youth development, and sustainable development pathways in Africa”.

She and her foundations have also been awarded various prestigious awards due to the good work they do, all this and many more of her achievements can be found in her website, www.mpule.com.

So much achievement all because of beauty and the foundation that a beauty pageant gave her, so much impact in the world from the platform of beauty. And this impact is more than that of a lot of people who have used platforms they or the world feels are of more importance than beauty.

I have come to define beauty as anything that leaves a good impression in the lives of people who come across that particular thing and physical beauty definitely fits this definition. After all this, I am interested in finding out if anyone still believes that “beauty is only skin deep”.

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