After watching Miss World Bahamas this weekend, I’ve concluded that beauty pageants are pointless. More importantly (and unfortunately) they can negatively impact young children (especially young girls).
On Sunday, nine girls between the ages of 17 and 25 competed to become Miss World Bahamas 2017. The theme, metamorphosis, was not a proper reflection of the pageant, except in the most shallow sense of the word. The only inspiration the Miss Bahamas Organization seemed to gain from the caterpillar is its ability to transform its physical appearance. Forget about progression and growth, it’s all about outer beauty.
Miss World Bahamas’ tasks are to be a role model, a brand ambassador, and to attend charity events. In sum, it’s all about appearance. However, when the judges were asked what they were searching for in the contestants, some of the characteristics listed were: personable with a strong stage presence, authentic to The Bahamas, smart, able to think quickly and adapt to different situations, and memorable.
Do you want to know what crossed my mind when they said these things? I wondered how in the world is a person to judge these things based on how well a contestant models a swimsuit…
All of the young women wore the same sponsored swimsuit, so it’s not as if they were chosen to show personality or personal style. I suppose the shape of one’s body equates to their intelligence.
As for the evening gown portion, the judges were looking for elegance, poise, a sense of style, and a display of personality. Maybe I’m incorrect, but all of the contestants looked elegant to me. They were given dresses to wear (by sponsors I’m assuming), they had a beauty team to prep their hair and makeup, and they’re all used to being in heels due to preparation. Therefore, it’s impossible for them not to look elegant after months of grooming. They’re literally trained to be poised.
One thing I did appreciate about Miss World Bahamas was the concept of “Passion for Pageantry with a Purpose.” This aspect requires every contestant to represent a cause they planned to initiate change within. Not all of the contestants had equal time (or any at all) to inform audiences of their initiatives, but Miss University of The Bahamas, Nyisha Tilus, impressed me the most. Her push for mental health awareness wasn’t generic or random because she has first-hand experience with the importance of mental health. Her attachment to the cause made it evident that she’d follow through with her initiative, win or lose.
However, Nyisha Tilus was not one of the top three finalists. I assume it’s because she wasn’t the prettiest. Although she seemed to have many supporters in the quaint audience, somehow she didn’t make it (hmmm). Despite the judges searching for someone personable and intelligent, they chose a finalist who used “commitment” as an adjective instead of Miss University of The Bahamas. Yeah … okay. Thankfully, that contestant didn’t win. The winner, Miss Long Island, Geena Thompson, wasn’t very entertaining or engaging, just very popular.
(all of the contestants were beautiful, so that’s not even a factor for me).
I suppose it is just a beauty pageant and you shouldn’t expect much from something so superficial. Since appearance is the sole focus, the Miss Bahamas Organization should dim the lights on pageantry with a purpose. It goes to show that no matter how intelligent you are, no matter how well thought out your plan, beauty will always trump brains.
Now, how does this impact the youth? What does this mean for impressionable young girls? Do we confirm what they’re seeing? Do we agree that beautiful means thin and tall? Do we affirm that makeup is what makes beauty as opposed to something that enhances it? Do we also agree that chemically straightened hair (or even weave) is more appealing than what naturally grows out of their scalps?
It should be noted that all three of the Miss World Bahamas finalists were tall ( 5 feet, 9 inches – all of them) and thin. There isn’t anything wrong with tall and thin, but that isn’t the only body type that should be considered beautiful.
One of the requirements for Miss Bahamas is a beautiful face and body. My question is, who decides what is and isn’t beautiful? Here’s the thing, there are many body types. Everyone isn’t going to be a size two, and we shouldn’t project that expectation onto anyone. Especially not young girls.
Moreover, I’ve never seen the contestants without makeup. Makeup is something that enhances beauty. So why is the Miss Bahamas Organization unwilling to present the contestants in their natural state? Must we all wear makeup 24/7 to be considered exceptionally beautiful? Isn’t life about balance? Isn’t it a bit too hot for all of that? I heard the natural look was in.
Don’t get me started on the hair. Miss New Providence and Miss Paradise Island were the only ones who weren’t rocking a straight (or a curled, but still straight) hairstyle. Neither of them made the top five. I know that we’ve been brainwashed by the European powers that be to believe that “nappy ain’t happy,” but geez…
Almost every single girl had a weave. If she didn’t have a weave, her hair was relaxed (besides from the two previously mentioned). If their hair wasn’t relaxed, it was straightened.
So, tell me, what now? With the impressionable young girls:
Do we relax their hair until it breaks and falls out? Do we buy them makeup at an early age? Do we watch them starve themselves in attempts to look like someone else? What do we do when they ask to look just like Miss World Bahamas? This beauty pageant can spark body shaming/bullying, eating disorders, and insecurities at a young age. Suddenly, your young daughter is questioning her body and wondering why doesn’t she look like the woman on television. This one representation of beauty that we all accept with open arms is flat out unrealistic. Not everyone resembles the body and face that the Miss Bahamas Organization declares acceptable, but that doesn’t mean they’re not beautiful.
To conclude, I found the contest to be a shallow and superficial performance.