The politics of Beauty

January 26, 2009 at 8:55 am 5 comments

Incase you, like me, came late to the hearing, the crowning of Miss Ethiopia 2009 was held at the Intercontinental Hotel on Saturday, January 17/2009.

The Winner, a 22 year old Addis Ababa University Student from Gambela.

According to the interview ETV’s reporter had with the judges (that aired yesterday afternoon), the decision couldn’t have been more unanimous. Ms. Chuna Okok/Okaka has been found beautiful “both inside and out”. [A concept explained by one of the judges as: gracefulness, the confidence with which a contestant holds herself, the fact that she can come up with an intelligent response at the drop of the hat, etecetra etecetra].

A fellow-judge has added how it’s no secret to any of us that Beauty pageants held in the last 60 or so years in Ethiopia have been selecting their queens from, mostly, the Northern part of the country. This pageant, he hopes, has proved how Ethiopia is a multi-cultural country where beauty comes in all colors.

Crowned Miss Ethiopia 2009, and winner of a 60,000 birr worth of Diamond, (whose own father didn’t know she was one of the contestants until she won, which she realized wasn’t a dream when the congratulatory-calls started flooding the next day) agrees. “This isn’t just my victory” she told ERTA, “it’s a victory to all girls who weren’t given this opportunity. I hope my crowning would encourage other, less confident, beauties to come out”.

In response to what she’s planning to do with her beauty, she’s hoped she’d put it to good use “if allowed to render her free-of-charge service to an NGO” (whereupon the undersigned held her chest, to support the heart she felt would break, and observed how it seems to take more than being crowned “the most beautiful woman in the land” to kick your self-worth up a notch).

According to Ethiopian Village Adventure Playground, the organization that devoted the last two years to prepare the Pageant, Miss Chuna Okok/Okaka would take part in Miss World Cultural Heritage of 2009 due to be held in Namibia this year. Deal with it!

Here are photos of the contestants.

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Entry filed under: Latest Posts.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. luli  |  January 26, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    So i don’t really know how i feel about this. On the one hand, its great that Ethiopia’s ‘face’ is not dominated by features from the north. This is a chance to show the world what diverse and multi-ethnic nation we are. On the other hand, if the judges did this to be ‘pc’, we it kinda defeats the whole purpose doesn’t it??

  • 2. tpeace  |  January 26, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    i think u have to think about what beauty pageants stand for and purpose in the first place and take this with a grain of salt…

    to a point beauty pageants are a celebration of physical beauty and some level of ‘poise’ and ‘performed talent’ ( If there even is any talent competition in ethiopia’s pageants) the competitiveness of the contestants is predetermined by the contest in swimming suit contests, short interviews with relatively vague topics, evening gown and cultural dress??? …

    it looks like for whatever motive this year’s crowned beauty is stretching the standards of beauty in the country and i see that as a very positive step

  • 3. abesheet  |  January 27, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Thank you Luli and teaspace for your comments. I have no problem with Chuna being crowned “Miss Ethiopia 2009”. She’s cute. And it’s about time that somebody paid the rest of Ethiopia some attention. My problem is with the fairness of it all. It’s as if the judges have made up their minds to choose Chuna whether what she brought to the table was worth it or not. If you heard the “Wukata” in the hall every time she uttered a word, as if she’s a baby who just took her first step, or creature of the wild taking everybody by surprise with her ability to form thoughts that are actually coherent, you’d know there is more patronizing to it than honesty or conviction. I know where it comes from, the attempt @ “moral Ginbata”. And maybe girls from her side of the country need a break. [Although i personally would rather have honesty and respect, or even rejection, than patronization]. But the important question remains: How about the rest of the contestants? Minn atefu?! This may sound exaggerating, but if we try seeing it from other angles, how is this different from sacrificing the innocent to punish the guilty. From saying “Amara/Christian/Neftegna sibedilih noroalina metasebiyawochun leMatfat mebT aleh”?!. Anywho.. it is the beginning of a new era and for that, i’m atleast grateful.

    P.S. Forgive the typos in this comment. I’m connecting from an internet cafe whose computers can’t be slower if they tried.

  • 4. luli  |  January 27, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Abesheet I completely agree!!! I was thinking about it along the same lines but since I wasn’t there in Addis, I didn’t want to make judgements too quick. Like you astutely put, even rejection is, in my opinion, much better to swallow than patronization. Having said all this, tpeace, I must say this is a step for the country and despite my doubts, I still thought the news worthy of posting on my facebook ‘shared links’ page 😉

  • 5. kidicat  |  February 23, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Abesheet, am soooooooooooo happy she won. That s the real beauty. We are beautiful iko, tadilen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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