The beauty pageant. One of the most outdated, anti-feminist, brazenly puerile, boring events on the annual calender. But that’s just my opinion, other people love them.
In England, where I grew up, no one knew or cared who Miss England was. It was one of those things that people found pointless. No one with any semblance of intelligence or in any way extant gave even a passing thought to the beauty pageant, and be it true or be it false, everyone thought that the entrant to a beauty pageant had to be some futile, airheaded female embarrassment to all other females; most especially to the fiercely intelligent, uber militant, feminist ones. The ones we all admired and aspired to imitate. That’s how it was in my day.
When I came to SA everyone was very excited about the Miss SA competition and I was baffled. But my bafflement did not stop me from attending the pageant. I confess I was so bored I would have chewed the acrylic tip off my pinkie if that had been the price of a way out of there.
The winner was our beloved Bassie, so that cheered things up for many because she was the perfect example of African beauty; a young black woman, sweet, beautiful and all the etceteras that go with that. It was good for the nation. It was good for morale. It was good. I got that. It was, nonetheless my very last beauty pageant. I find I can’t.
Many women are offended by the idea that in order to prove some point which we cannot fathom, young women must parade up and down almost as naked as the day they were born, (but not quite), and be judged by a panel of, predominantly, men. They think it demeans womankind, and I’m entirely sure that they are right. The parading of young women in such a mortifying fashion is not advancing any cause of women’s empowerment. It may even be retarding it.
And then there was Miss Universe just the other day, and it was won by an Angolan woman and for a few blinded moments I forgot that I despise beauty pageants, and I was so proud for Africa, and particularly for Angola and I beheld her picture in the newspaper, and I thought how beautiful she is; and I smiled. But, then I read and what I read was that one of the judges had asked this girl ‘if you could change one thing about yourself what would it be’, and I read that there was a public outcry because; why would this gorgeous creature need to change anything about herself? And how dare the asker of the question presume to make this perfect creature feel that there is anything about herself that she needs to change. Are they joking? It’s a beauty pageant for peets sake? What do you want them to ask her about? Sonoluminescence?
And apparently another girl was asked about her opinion of wars. Oh come on. Really? That is an invitation to that age old one about ‘world peace’.
Isn’t it extraordinary that people who watch beauty pageants have expectations beyond the inane.