Better ways to help women than pageants

A City-organised beauty pageant for ‘curvaceous’ women ‒ since postponed ‒ is another sign of the ANC not reading the room.

A City-organised beauty pageant for ‘curvaceous’ women ‒ since postponed ‒ is another sign of the ANC not reading the room.

Published Mar 2, 2024


Durban — Trust the ANC to be completely tone deaf and unable to read the room.

In the midst of a crippling strike by its own workers, the eThekwini Municipality sees fit to crow about organising a beauty pageant for fuller-figured women to boost their self-esteem.

The city centre, and other parts of the municipal district, resemble dumps, with uncollected rubbish strewn, in some cases, by the striking workers.

The strikers also intimidate people trying to make their way into the city, and health-care provision has been affected, with several clinics closed.

One positive to come out of the situation is that the municipality has managed to get load shedding suspended, so as not to send out staff in the event of overloads when power returns.

However, this is scant comfort for residents in areas already without electricity because of network faults.

In other areas, particularly in the north, thousands are still waiting for water to flow through their taps while the municipality works to repair infrastructure damaged in storms.

As the University of KwaZulu-Natal Belinda Johnson and opposition parties point out, the City’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit is responsible for the upkeep of parks, cemeteries, libraries and other amenities, which could all benefit from the financial resources to be pumped into a beauty pageant.

Efforts to empower women and encouraging body positivity are certainly to be welcomed, but are beauty pageants – which are arguably sexist in the first place – the best way to go about it?

The same women would be better served by a programme which gave them skills to make a living (pageantry careers are short-lived), by being able to live in safe surroundings, by having access to libraries which enrich their minds, and clean, safe parks to unwind in.

With the first audition being postponed due to the strike, and Friday’s statement saying the entire project had been postponed, there is time for the municipality to cancel this ill-advised venture.

Independent on Saturday