After Priyanka Rani Joshi, Sareesha Shrestha and Nancy Khadka were crowned Miss Nepal World, Miss Nepal Earth and Miss Nepal International respectively last month, plenty of social media accounts congratulated them. That day my social media wall was occupied with similar posts. And all of a sudden a curiosity to look over the comments on those posts raised in me. After surfing through those comments, I got shocked, sad and disappointed. In fact, my heart broke into pieces.
There were many accounts that made dreadful and harsh comments against the title bearers and the beauty pageant. The thing that surprised me most was even the females were taking part in such comments. They were even demanding to ban the pageants. They were relating the beauty pageant with a recently known incident where the organizer of the beauty contest raped one of the participants. But can banning the beauty contest and making offensive comments against the participants actually solve the problem?
I completely agree that beauty pageants do not have the right to damage anyone’s life. But I also disagree with people who consider beauty pageants as an unsafe place and demand their prohibition. The incident of sexual abuse and harassment occurs everywhere including in schools, colleges, banks, government offices and others. But that doesn’t mean we should ban each of those organizations.
Rather than finding a proper solution people are seen running behind the things that are impractical and irrational. How can we expect faster development in our country with such a mentality?
As a pageant enthusiast, I have always wanted young girls from diverse backgrounds to come forward and speak up for themselves. I personally believe beauty pageants have the power to make it happen. The platform has the potential to empower women and enrich their personalities.
They are not just concerned about someone’s beauty but they also provide the confidence to become the voice of the voiceless. It’s the platform that has changed the lives of many people. I believe everyone should get a chance to be part of such a platform where they can explore their talents and field of interest.
I have always wanted young girls from diverse backgrounds to come forward and speak up for themselves. I believe beauty pageants have the power to make it happen.
Likewise, beauty contests also give participants an opportunity to represent Nepal on the world stage.
I personally feel the purpose of beauty pageants is to find one’s personality, their own strengths and weaknesses. But there are people who never want to accept beauty pageants as an important platform for youngsters. Targeting the aspiring beauty pageant participants there was a comment on social media that read, “Please don’t come asking for justice after you get raped.” There were plenty of comments as such. A young girl who aspires to do something in her own country rather than move to foreign land gets hopeless with such a mindset.
Due to such a conservative mindset, we have failed to create a peaceful environment where girls would feel safe while traveling on the street or even staying inside the home.
Now the only solution we have is we need to change our mentality. Doing so can create a lot of positive changes. “Change begins from you” should be the main mantra of everyone.
Let the beauty pageants run freely and rightly because many people see dreams in this sector. There are people who want to devote their lives to this sector. The proper functioning of beauty pageants can take our people to a global level and get international recognition. This directly creates a positive impact on the country.
Those who are misusing platforms of beauty contests should be punished strictly. There should be a situation where no people would feel fear of entering a beauty pageant. Many people still believe that things like sexual harassment are normal in the entertainment sector, especially in beauty pageants. This belief should change immediately and we all need to work for it.
Reeva Khanal is a grade 11 student at Prasadi Academy, Lalitpur.