MORE TO BEAUTY PAGEANTS THEN MEETS THE EYE
By Talent Buthelezi
According to Dictionary.com- A beauty pageant or contest is a competition that judges its contestants mainly on physical beauty; however over the past years we have seen them take a slightly different turn. Nowadays a pageant does not only require you to be, “Drop Dead Gorgeous” but having the intelligence to complement your beauty is a key element to winning.
1956 was when it all began in South Africa, since then every year has had a reigning Miss South Africa. During apartheid South Africa sent two representatives to represent the country in the Miss Universe Pageant. African and European representatives were sent- until the country got expelled from the competition. The country was later unbanned following the abolishment of the apartheid regime.
South Africa is a country infested by poverty, HIV/AIDS, informal settlements and other social problems. Miss South Africa is not only an opportunity for contestants to make their mark in the world as South African ambassadors but is also an opportunity for the winner (the queen) to embark on strategies to help combat the above social ills through raising funds and assisting charity organization.
Simangele Zuma, a somatology student said “Miss South Africa is a wonderful opportunity for young, career driven and intelligent ladies to tackle serious issues. A perfect example of such an individual is Kerishnie Naiker (Miss South Africa 1998) who runs a non-profit organization aimed at helping South Africans. It is humbling to know that she is practicing what she preached on stage –years after her reign.”
Thoba Mthimkhulu, a medical student, differs from the views expressed by Simangele stating that the country should promote education. “Most contestants that qualify to compete in beauty pageants are there because they meet a certain criteria –does it mean that I am ugly if I am not skinny or tall nor fit a particular profile?”
According to an article published on IOL (01/08/12) “The first time the Miss World pageant came to Sun City in S.A in 1992 the event drew a viewership of 1, 8 billion- by 2008 that figure was down to one billion”. These figures indicate that a number of people across the world are losing interest in beauty pageants.
According to online psychologists- beauty pageants have pros and cons. The most obvious pro is that pageants provide confidence and recognition for your beauty, which in turn builds a strong self-esteem, the ability for contestants to think on their feet and travel the world. One of the negatives is that losing can crush a contestants’ self-esteem, contestants might use unhealthy methods to lose weight for the competition and they might cripple the contestants’ long term perception of beauty
What is beauty? People have different interpretations of beauty. To some- beauty is physical attractiveness while others define beauty as traits or qualities that an individual possesses. “Although it is my job to make people physically beautiful by applying make-up that complements a particular individuals’ features- to me beauty runs more than skin deep. A person who is defined as beautiful is one that is beautiful in the inside and outside”, said Nomusa Zungu a beautician.
With ratings reaching an ultimate low, the future of beauty pageants is uncertain. While others follow them religiously –many have withdrawn from them as they are no longer ‘interesting’.