All has been written about Miss Uganda 2014 and I will move fast to my thoughts on this issue.
I am of a view that when one goes public, we just can’t expect society to act or club up, but criticism, review, comments are expected. It is from these that debate builds up and as society we end up engaging hopefully not on who is right or wrong but to understand the thoughts coming from the society in which we live and possibly influence others with our opinions.
Just like “music does not exist until it is performed”, debate only exists in society through engaging with others. Taking dissent and debate away means eradicating the “human element,” on this issue and that we should not trust society to freely debate.
Personally, “hate” is personal but reviews, criticism and comments are public. To hate one, you have to know him/her personally just like to love one. You cannot love a public figure but you can like a public figure. That’s why women feel disgusted when strangers tell them: “I love you” as they take the view that love is a “big” word. However, comments, reviews and criticism crosses the line if it turns into hate speech and bully tactics.
We live in a society where you can’t say obese or fat! We should not stifle debate, lump anyone that disagrees with us in a basket of haters, especially here on beauty when it was a public beauty pageant. Dissent is out there. Possibly we should ask ourselves whether giving public a vote would change their perception on beauty, make the competition meaningful or reflect the saying, beauty depends on the eyes of the beholder? These are issues possibly the organisers and those engaged in this debate need to consider.
Grace Natabaalo, argues that Miss Uganda beauty pageant despite its flaws, should embrace women as a whole not just about physical appearance. I agree with this just like foreign press has done, it has embraced a woman not physical appearance. The details of the winner have been well highlighted, from London to Kuwait. But I do think that dissent tells a different story, those with dissenting views have taken the literal view of beauty not the wholesome view like the majority.
The goal posts tend to be moved when physical appearance does not fit the prize winner yet it is marketed as part of the qualities of a beauty pageant. My view on this is that, if physical appearance does not count then the organisers should consider renaming the pageant to “Miss Uganda” and remove the “beauty” qualities as some see it as mis-selling or misrepresentation.
Lastly, we copied the Beauty contest, it ain’t mandatory and easier to unsubscribe to than ICC, let us drop it and embrace better meaningful contests that bring the best out of women. Otherwise, we can’t stifle debate but we can embrace it, educate each other, learn from each other. Omuganda agamba, “mu nsoobi mwe mu vva enggologofu” meaning we all learn from our mistakes, it is through debate that we can understand, shape societal views.