To be clear, I’m not hating on the contestants of Mr and Miss South Africa.
If pageants are what you want to do with your time and energy, more power to you.
I do have some issues with the actual competitions, though, but we’ll get to that in a second.
First things first – it’s that time of the year when the contestants are announced for Mr South Africa. If you were hoping for an improvement on last year’s trainwreck, you’re going to be disappointed.
Once again, the reaction was far from positive.
CEO of the Mr SA brand, JP Robberts, has said in the past that he’s surprised by how quick people are to judge the contestants based on appearance. This from TimesLIVE:
“I feel it’s unnecessary to attack someone on a personal level. It’s unnecessary to diminish their character and degrade them purely based on their looks without actually knowing that person’s story, what they are capable of, or what they have done out of the goodness of their hearts.”
Sure, except we don’t look only at the ‘hearts’ and ‘good deeds’ of the Miss South Africa candidates.
The requirements that potential Miss South Africa contestants had to meet to enter the 2019 competition included the following:
- You must be older than 20 or younger than 27 by 31 May 2019 -So you must be born after 1 June 1991 or before 3 May 1998.
- You must be a South African citizen with a valid SA ID or passport.
- You must have a Matric Certificate or “equivalent qualification”.
- You cannot be married and you must never have had a marriage annulled
- You cannot be engaged. You must never have been pregnant or have given birth and you cannot be pregnant at the time of the pageant.
All of that sexist crap, especially the bits that draw on conservative attitudes about marriage and pregnancy, doesn’t apply to Mr South Africa.
Oh no, to become the next Mr South Africa all you have to do is “exhibit certain virtues”, Robberts told IOL.
“Our criteria is strict at ensuring that our entrants exhibit certain virtues. These virtues are compassion, integrity (and) professionalism. These candidates have to be involved in community work or upliftment in working towards much needed change in SA,” said Robberts.
“The entry process is open to all South African men from all walks of life. From there we give all our entrants challenges to assess the virtues and principles that we are searching for. Throughout the public gets to vote for them and raise their opinions and support their favourite.
So the women who enter this competition have to be pure, gorgeous, prove they’ve never been pregnant and must be single, while all the men need to do is display “certain virtues” (whatever that means).
This goes a long way towards explaining why the Miss SA contestants for 2019 looked like this…
…while the 2019 Mr SA contestants were criticised for looking like they were randomly pulled off the street – something which people on social media were quick to point out.
This year is no different, except that there doesn’t seem to have been any kind of selection process. Seriously, visit the Mr SA Facebook page and click on ‘Photos’ where you’ll find countless contestants for Mr South Africa 2020.
Keep scrolling down, it goes on and on.
Here is a selection of the entrants from one of the more popular tweets:
Mr South Africa 2020 💀💀💀#Thread pic.twitter.com/YVdgqNcE9e
— JJ Sesing 🤓 (@JjSesing) October 10, 2019
Speaking of social media, once again, let’s hand commentary over to the Twitteratti:
Hayibo guys, did y’all see the 2020 Mr SA runners? pic.twitter.com/29GDZ2ulCH
— ✌🏾 (@ThatsMeVusi) October 10, 2019
Mr SA 2020 has youth against the elderly, I’m so confused! pic.twitter.com/H9jsN7B7vx
— Katleho Moloi (@KatlehoOnline) October 10, 2019
Those aren’t even the worst of the lot.
Again, if you want to enter beauty pageants, more power to you.
It’s just pretty obvious that there is a gulf in what is expected from those who enter Miss South Africa, and those who enter Mr South Africa.
Perhaps the organisers of Miss South Africa could stop with the outdated requirements, and the field could be levelled.
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