The Dangers of The Miss Bahamas Organization

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.

*deep sigh* 

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.

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19 thoughts on “The Dangers of The Miss Bahamas Organization

  1. Before you wrote this did you follow the entire pageant? A few times the girls wore no make up..Though some points are valid a lot more or simply incorrect.

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    1. No, I didn’t follow the entire pageant. I didn’t know about it until it was almost over. From what I saw, there were no moments without makeup (or nothing noticeable). Feel free to correct me if I got something wrong. I’m always willing to learn something new.

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  2. Among the other traits, the contestants should be pretty. Most of them were not…and I’m not being mean. It’s just what it is. This person will need to represent us on an international stage and most of them did not have the “look”. Good job to the “Bahamian” girl who is Ms. UB, with the touching story, but she was very unattractive. Every year there is some complaint or sad story.

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  3. It’s called a beauty pageant! It’s not an intelligence competition! They look for an attractive girl who is well rounded to compete among some of the worlds most physically beautiful young ladies.they have a team of selected pageant experience judges. Who know how to judge how competitive this young lady will be internationally. There is a judges interview to see how good a young lady is with a conversation and on stage questions to judge how a girl thinks on her feet. The beauty with a purpose aspect isn’t a public component. Only the winner is shown! I think more research should be done before posting an article that’s best described as click bait. It’s in poor taste to condemn an organization when the topic is clearly foreign to you. All the best however!

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  4. This is a beauty pageant, nothing less and nothing more. The MUST choose someone who they think can compete on an international level. There are many other competitions prior to the final one that is aired on tv that allow them to get points, they also allowed fans to vote along the way, if you felt like Miss UB should’ve been in the final 3 you should’ve voted. I am a natural haired, short and thick girl who has been watching pageants all her life and I have never had the thought that I was not beautiful just because the contestants are always tall and thin. I understand that this is an opinion piece but I suggest that you should do some more reading before you write a post like this.. speak facts. Thanks

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    1. Thank you for expressing your opinion. However, please realize that just as you’re commenting and expressing your opinion, so am I by writing this post on my blog. You’re contradicting yourself by saying “I understand that this is an opinion piece […] speak facts.” Just be mindful of that.

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  5. All girls did well, Miss University had the best speech, Geena Thompson is very beautiful, however, I truly feel as if Miss Exuma should have walked away with the crown. And the girls who made top 3 should not have. But hey, the judges made their decision so let it be. Congratulations again Geena & all the other contestants

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  6. Good day to you. Your observations regarding the recent Pageant were interesting indeed. I must agree that Ms UB Nyisha Tilus made an impressive appearance during the Pageant. However, as someone before pointed out, it is a Beauty Pageant and it is an Authentically Bahamian Pageant. As a person in the audience, I felt that Ms UB failed in both categories. To have chosen her as queen, would have been a disservice to the Title, the Country and to her personally.

    Let me be frank and say, with as much understanding as I can, that even though they may claim Bahamian rights by birth, papers or however, young girls of Creole descent are not AUTHENTICALLY BAHAMIAN. It is simply a fact of life. Now that does not mean that they are not beautiful, intelligent, smart etc, because they are. They simply are not authentically Bahamian and it is a BAHAMIAN who should always represent us.
    An authentic Bahamian has generational roots (grand parents, great grand parents, great-great grandparents etc., rooted in our Country. They are a mixture of skin tones and are genuinely friendly people. They are kind, giving and sometimes perceived as docile. This kindness is often misconstrued as stupidity, but that, we are most certainly not. We have earned, through blood, sweat and tears, ingenuity, patience, forbearance, trial and failure, our spot, our place on the WORLD stage. It is patently wrong, even sinful, to expect for us to sit idly by and have our efforts usurped!

    Rather than be frustrated, isn’t it time for the Creole community to organize itself into its own Pageant and send its winner to compete in whatever International pageant they choose?

    I cover myself and all those I love with the precious Blood of Jesus.

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  7. The contestants this year were absolutely stunning! I thought Miss Exuma was wonderful. She had the looks and the personality but she did not have the ‘height’. To compete internationally I think height is required among other obvious things. Following up on the pageant, I suggest ALL of the contestants to take speech classes. Yes, even miss UB, who was clearly a good speaker. We were getting tired of hearing the same old sad story over and over! No matter how ‘real’ it may have been it sometime sounded rehearsed. Miss Long island was the best choice for a number of reasons but I felt that she lacked the personality. Good read.

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  8. I fully endorse this view. The sexualization of the Bahamian female has led to deep social decline and lowered moral values and standards.

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  9. Loretta Robinson-Thomas
    When parents fail in their responsibility to be positive role models, love, provide and protect their children, that is what leads to “social decline and lowered moral values and standards”. There are many atrocities that take place in our communities, abuse and neglect, children go to school hungry every morning, children without the necessary tools to learn, inadequate community leadership and little empowerment programs for young girls and boys. Is there a blog and outcry against such neglect “of the least of these”? How many persons are blogging against these societal ills and are engaged in humanitarian endeavors in these communities? How many bloggers are working to empower and uplift the spirit and improve the human condition of these individuals?

    Beyond The Sash And Crown.
    Over the years some of the most admired and accomplished Bahamian women have graced the stage of pageantry. Today these Titleholders still speak fondly of their pageant experience, how it has enriched their lives and defined their career path. Women in pageantry have earned scholastic placements at universities abroad, positions in leadership, medicine, education, government, judicial system, agriculture, film and entertainment. These Bahamian women are positive role models and outstanding non-political Bahamian ambassadors creating change in their local communities (not covered by the press) and improving lives as far as Africa.

    Let’s embrace and support the many positive aspects of pageantry and appreciate the beauty, confidence and intellect of our Bahamian ambassadors.

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