• February 26th, 2020

In the eyes of the beholder

… Miss Namibia finalists evoke mixed reactions

Paheja Siririka and Aletta Shikololo

WINDHOEK – Commentators this week denounced the ridicule that some semi-finalists of this year’s Miss Namibia beauty pageant have endured.
Some contestants received mixed reactions from the public when their photos went public this week – with many social media users questioning their looks and ages.
The pageant’s committee selected 33 contestants vying for the sought-out crown. 
Demeaning comments were directed at some contestants, such as that they were an epitome of a struggling economy, while others were labeled as “Miss Havana informal settlement”, in reference to the high-density slum on the outskirt of Windhoek.
The credibility of the annual beauty pageant also came into sharper focus, following what some said was a shabby selection process.
Odile Gertze, Miss Namibia for 2010, told Entertainment Now! that she hoped to see the pageant improving. 
“The changes I want to see with the pageant is growth, they must grow themselves,” said Gertze. 
Gender, relationship and behavioural commentator Ngamane Karuaihe-Upi, also known as Uncle G.E.P was not impressed with the way people ridiculed the semi-finalists. 
“People who bash others in such a manner are empty vessels making noise out of ignorance,” an irate Karuaihe-Upi commented to Entertainment Now!. 
“What do you gain from breaking another person who is trying to build themselves?” he wanted to know. 
“Psychologically, things we do to others are projections of our own insecurities,” he said. 
“People forget that karma exists. Would you really expect this person to assist you when you need help once they get into a position to do so while you were busy dragging their name [down] on social media, criticising how they look? ” further asked Karuaihe-Upi. 
He said it is okay to debate about which contestant should be crowned and which should not but beauty-shaming and comparing them to animals was unacceptable, alluding to the comments on social media. 
Karuaihe-Upi himself is not a huge fan of beauty pageants, he admits.
“I am against beauty pageants because they are all about objectifying women,” he added. “There is a lot of emphasis on physical appearance and that’s what Namibians are judging the girls on right now, that’s what people are responding to at the moment,” he said.  
“What exactly happens to these women after pageants, you shine for one year, you get a car for the year of your reign and that’s basically it. How do we empower women?” 
Karuaihe-Upi further pondered on how pageants would be like if they contained more impactful categories.  “You are forever seeing Miss Photogenic, Miss Congeniality… how about Miss Humble, Miss Ethical,” he suggested. 
National Director of the Miss Namibia pageant Conny Maritz explained the criteria for entering the pageant. “Once the ladies were registered, they received the official entry form with requirements to complete and return it online with their choice of photographs,” explained Maritz. 
No professional photo shoot was conducted on the part of the organisers, she added.
The selection committee embarked on the search with the registrations done online. “Anyone could enter by registering,” said Maritz. She also explained that the options were given to the committee consisting of eight members, who are men and women. 
For this year’s pageant, Maritz outlined that 255 official registrations were received. “However only 98 followed through and returned their entry form and photographs to officially enter for the contents. 
“These 98 ladies were interviewed by the selection committee,” elaborated Maritz. 
“They will receive training which will prepare them. They will take part in the preliminary event at the Winter Bash on June 8th, 2019 where the top 12 will be announced,” enlightened Maritz. 
The Crowning on Miss Namibia 2019 will take place on July 6th at the Windhoek Country Club Resort and Casino.

Staff Reporter
2019-05-17 10:27:57 | 9 months ago

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