Beauty and the Brain

The Q&A section in beauty pageants has, for some time now, come to be known as the saving grace of beauty pageants.

The Q&A section in beauty pageants has, for some time now, come to be known as the saving grace of beauty pageants.

You may agree or disagree.

No use
However, there are numerous and extensive arguments whose main purpose it is to denigrate and vilify beauty pageants, most of which accuse these contests of being stereotypical in their definition of beauty and to be shortcuts to fame for the participants.

They term the pageants to be contests that just show which country has the woman with the most beauty, but, beyond that, contribute nothing to the society. All they do is provide entertainment to the public.

Anti-pageant campaigners also abhor the fact that these ladies are given so much attention and responsibility such as representing their countries in major campaigns, and being spokespersons in numerous issues, yet they really have not achieved anything.

They submit that these ladies have not validated their existence by working for worthy causes and dirtying their hands whilst doing so.

Saving grace
That said, it seems that with so much criticism levelled against the worthiness of these pageants, there has been an effort by the organizers to show that their definition of beauty is more than just the outward features. 

According to one of the judges on the Miss Rwanda panel, Evelyn Umurerwa, the Q&A section aims to test the girl’s intelligence, reasoning and confidence. According to Umurerwa, asking questions that require more than just a yes or no answer helps them get more material to arrive at a decision on whether there are decent brains behind the beauty.

She adds that this section also helps them identify whether the girls are in touch with the issues facing their societies and the world at large and whether they are able to hold their own.

Looking at some questions posed to contestants, one can see there is some effort to pose some challenge and put higher expectations for the girls yearning to be crowned beauty queens.

Some test for self and social awareness while others test, very importantly, for intelligence and general wittiness.

Here is a sample.
If there is one thing you could do to change the world what would it be? What has been the biggest failure of your life? What do you think can be done to improve your smile?

These questions do seem to have the potential to expose a lot about the participant and rapidly identify the difference between beauty only and the much desired mix of beauty and brains.

However, there has been criticism that these questions have, of late, been producing boring and scripted answers.

Kate Smith, who believes that beauty pageants are entertainment feigned as noble missions by advertisers and broadcasters, admits that the Q&A segment usually does the job of weeding out the smart ones from the bimbos.

However, she laments that the most distressing part is in the quality of the answers given.

She says that of late they  have either seemed like memorized answers or the models show their complete lack of understanding of current affairs or try so hard to remain politically correct that they give weak answers.

She gives an example of one asked what they would wish for if they only had only one wish. The participant responded by saying world peace and it is at this point that Sanders says her mind yawned.

She complains that most participants cannot hold their own and thus are coached to all give the ‘right’ answers and they do not even have the creativity to say them differently.

Whatever your take on this issue is, you only can be the judge as to whom you would rather tell you about the importance of saving the environment, a beauty queen or the noble laureate Wangari Maathai.

j_kiregu@yahoo.com

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