As Miss Sierra Leone Ltd re-launches Second Lady calls for change of perception in beauty contests
The Second Lady of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Mrs Khadija Sam Sumana, has urged for a change of perception of beauty pageants in the country if the objectives of the re-launched Miss Sierra Leone Limited are to be realised. (Photo: Mrs Sam Sumana – change of perception will attract the right calibre of young women to participate in the Miss Sierra Leone pageant
The wife of the Vice President said the Miss Sierra Leone Limited company needs to embark on a major programme of public education to change people’s perception.
“Without a change of perception, it may be difficult to attract the right calibre of young women to participate in the Miss Sierra Leone pageant,” said Mrs. Sam Sumana, while officially re-launching Miss Sierra Leone Limited and launching Miss Sierra Leone 2013 activities on Friday evening at the Sierra Light House, Aberdeen, Freetown.
She said in Sierra Leone the image of beauty pageants have dropped very low in the recent past, partly as a result of the activities of the exploiters and fly-by-nighters out to make quick money, but also as a result of inadequate funding of events that many times have turned out to be poorly managed and executed.
“Consequently, we have had situations where those who were declared winners of the pageant were either clearly not suited to be beauty queens, or were not given the prizes promised them. We have also had situations where some of these local beauty queens have been sent abroad to represent Sierra Leone at international competitions and they have been so poorly provided for that they did not do credit to Sierra Leone in the competition, and in some cases even ended up being stranded in foreign lands,” she said, adding that she is therefore very pleased that Miss Sierra Leone Limited is being re-launched.
She said she is also pleased because it is clear that the people behind Miss Sierra Leone Limited can by no stretch of the imagination be regarded as fly-by-nighters, but are highly respected individuals who have made their mark in various fields of endeavour in Sierra Leone.
“I am pleased, also because, from what I have been able to gather, Miss Sierra Leone Limited is focused on identifying a young lady that will serve as icon for young Sierra Leonean women; inspiring them to become responsible and respectable young women; galvanising them into progressive action and charitable deeds,” she said.
Mrs Sam Sumana said Sierra Leone is a country where more than 50% of the population is made up of women, yet more than 80% of all top positions in the country are held by men.
In the rural areas, she added, women do most of the hard work while men enjoy the greatest benefits.
“Women have generally been disadvantaged for a long time, and this needs to change,” she said.
For some people, she said, beauty pageant is a means of exploiting young women and their femininity, and should be discouraged.
“But for others beauty pageant is a means of celebrating womanhood and all that is positive in it,” she said, adding that there is therefore no doubt that the concept of beauty pageant is now a controversial issue world-wide.
And this controversy, she said, has led to a shift in focus from the traditional notion of beauty, which is mainly physical, to one which looks at the total person.
“Beauty queens for virtually all the major pageants around the world today are therefore expected to be physically beautiful, intellectually sound, morally upright, socially adaptable and have a good grasp of world affairs.
“This is also why, many of the major international competitions have dropped the word “beauty” from their names, and so we now talk about the Ms World Pageant,” she said.
She said she is further pleased that with the re-launch of Miss Sierra Leone Limited and the launching of the company’s activities for 2013, “we have started a journey that will culminate into Sierra Leone being adequately represented in international pageants like Ms World, Ms Universe, Ms ECOWAS, Ms West Africa International and other international pageants of repute”.
“The office of the First Lady, of which I am a part, is indeed very pleased to be associated with Miss Sierra Leone Limited, because we believe it will play a significant role in rebranding Sierra Leone to the outside world as a country that produces young women of all-round beauty; women capable of holding their own against the best in the world,” said the Second Lady.
She said they also believe that through its activities, Miss Sierra Leone Limited will provide inspiration for young women across Sierra Leone to aspire to become women of excellence.
“To be successful, the Miss Sierra Leone pageant also needs to be properly resourced, and so I urge all of you here present to seriously consider joining Miss Sierra Leone Limited in this laudable venture by providing funding for its activities,” she said.
By Ahmed Sahid Nasralla (De Monk)
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