So our country has a new Miss South Africa, but last night’s beauty pageant came against some criticisms which have us questioning what standards of beauty the organisers subscribe to.
The first (white) Miss South Africa was crowned in 1943 but we only got a black Miss SA in 1993. #ThankYouApartheid.
It’s time to meet your Top 12 South Africa. Welcome to the 59th annual Miss South Africa pageant. It’s showtime… pic.twitter.com/mly4KYOCEx
â€” Miss South Africa (@Official_MissSA) March 26, 2017
Some South Africans saw it a waste of time. They pointed out that there were more important things to focus on.
â€” SvigyðŸ˜ŽVeggies (@SivMatho) March 26, 2017
Others questioned the elitist and exclusive nature of the event. If itâ€™s a national competition, why was it only broadcast on DSTV, they asked.
â€” Bongekile (@Bongeh_M) March 26, 2017
The Miss South Africa pageant isnâ€™t considered progressive enough by some South Africans. The type of women that are successful in this competition tend to be tall, skinny, and have long, flowing locks – whether weaves, extensions, or their own hair.
The day i see a black girl with Natural hair in the top 12 il support Miss SA #MissSA2017
â€” KEAâ¤ï¸ (@IRep_Kea) March 26, 2017
However, some tweeps see this image as the idea of perfection.
#MissSA2017 The ladies are stunning, they are beautiful specimens true divine beings, definition of what perfection is!!!!
â€” Mpho Brutus (@OfficialMoswagg) March 17, 2017
There were comments about how the winner, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters looks like a mix of former Miss South Africas. So, more of the same then?
â€” Jo-Ann Strauss (@jo_annstrauss) March 26, 2017
â€” Issa KING ðŸ‘‘ ðŸ‡¿ðŸ‡¦ (@Gobusamang_25) March 26, 2017
Issues about representation of different ‘looks’ also came up in discussion.
I wonder,do black contestants stand a lesser chance of winning if they come out with short hair, afro or dreadlocks? #MissSA2017
â€” Â®Mr Ùâ€ rEÎ·d-Sï»‰ttï»‰rÂ® (@MuanoMusetha) March 26, 2017
I’ve always wanted to enter #MissSA2017 but it’s for petite women. I feel like it’s not a full representation of how SA women look
â€” Kutlwano Motshegoa (@tlwano_043) March 26, 2017
Beauty pageants are an archaic mode of womenâ€™s empowerment. Why are we still looking at smart beautiful women with a proclivity for philanthropy as something that is exceptional? The fact that they are celebrating a certain type of woman shows that pageant organisers arenâ€™t concerned with women in general, but only with selecting a supermodel who happens to be eloquent and clever too.
â€” Miss Mkhize (@missmkhizexo) March 26, 2017
Is there still a place for beauty pageants in society? Is the lack of representation in the pageant something that needs to be looked at, and changed? Or can beauty pageants be reclaimed and subverted to mean more than picking the most beautiful woman in the country?