Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Another Type of Beauty Paegant

This article is fascinating on a variety of levels.

It describes the "Miss Beautiful Morals" paegant in Saudi Arabia. It was briefly described this way:

But at Saudi Arabia's only beauty pageant, the judges don't care about a perfect figure or face. What they're looking for in the quest for "Miss Beautiful Morals" is the contestant who shows the most devotion and respect for her parents. [Emphasis mine]
Given that Islamic law requires women to be almost completely covered, swimsuits and curvaceous-ness are not part of the program. Instead of fleshly beauty, the focus is on (as one organizer said) "beauty of the soul and the morals" of the contestants.

Some interesting facts:
  • The paegant is now in its second year. 75 women participated last year; this year it is nearly 200.
  • Contestants are between the ages of 15 and 25.
  • The contestants will spend ten weeks taking classes and quizzes on various elements of Islamic ladyhood. They will also be observed for one day at a country house, being judged on how each interacts with her mother.
  • The paegant is not televised and all the judges are women. Therefore, they are not always required to wear the long robes that are worn in public.
  • The winner receives about $2600 and other prizes. Two runners-up each will receive $1300.
  • Prior to this paegant, the only "beauty paegants" in Saudi Arabia were for animals.
Last year's winner had this to say:
"I tell this year's contestants that winning is not important," said al-Shurafa, a 21-year-old English major. "What is important is obeying your parents."
Seems a far cry from the Miss USA paegant, huh? Might this be one of those areas where the Western and Islamic realms really could learn something from each other?? Imagine: A beauty paegant with modestly-dressed women (and I don't mean that in the Arab-world sense) being judged on their respect for parents, their intelligence and skills, and their beauty? Could this work?


michelles2cents said...

Absolutely could work...the majority of Americans would probably embrace it while the main stream media would slaughter it to death before it had a running chance. if its not seductive, the U.S. media has no taste for it.

Brenda Brough said...

Okay, so here's my take on this: I've actually been thinking through this for several days now, and at the base level this is a much better idea than America's typical beauty pageant. But I'm just not convinced that we would want a competition on "who's the most obedient" either. How do you judge that? What's the criteria? She's the most obedient because she has been basically forced to obey no matter what and just complies? Or is she obeying from the heart and out of love? Again, how do you judge that? Common parenting authorities encourage the use of reward for excellent behavior, so to applaud and obedient child and praise them is a good thing. But to dangle large sums of money in front of them to encourage a show of modesty and obedience seems to encourage hypocrisy and insincerity. Personally, I wouldn't want any of my daughters participating in either sort of "beauty pageant". I want them to learn how to earn and crave the pleasure of the Lord with a "meek and quiet spirit", rather than the praise of men. "..for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." I Sam. 16:7 Ironically enough, this passage is taken from the story of Samuel looking for the next king of Israel...a "contest" of sorts.

Ken said...

Good points, Brenda; you have put some solid thought into this. But this idea would still be an improvement on the current type of "beauty paegant" the world recognizes today.