Hiber Radio Daily Ethiopian News June 10, 2019 | Ethiopian News | Zehabesha News
Ethiopian Beauty Queens, a private company authorized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to organize and host beauty pageants held the Miss World Ethiopia, Miss Intercontinental Ethiopia, Miss Grand International Ethiopia and Miss International Ethiopia competitions on September 13 at the Intercontinental Hotel in Addis Ababa. These four contests are one of the largest international beauty pageants in the world.
Forty female contestants that had undergone six weeks of training prior to the competition were judged based on physical appearance (30 percent), catwalk (20 percent), confidence (10 percent), and swimsuit as well as evening gown presentations.
Beauty pageants celebrate not just physical beauty but also femininity and poise. From the first installment of the competition in Ethiopian history during the reign of Haile Selassie with the selection of Miss Addis Ababa, pageants have enjoyed a popular status. Crowned winners are akin to athletes that win international sports competitions, introducing Ethiopian strength and flexibility worldwide.
On the other hand, as women are paraded in front of an audience to be judged and answer questions in an innocuous manner with a permanent smile plastered on their faces as proof of enduring happiness, it begs to question if these pageants have become antiquated. Competitors are referred to by number, all their names prattled off in a row. Individuation is rarely possible unless a contestant makes a conscious effort to be remembered.
In the first round of the competition, contestants walked on stage in gold skirts and danced to different Ethiopian tunes. They appeared to lack energy and were having difficulty synchronizing their moves. They followed their performance with personal introductions. Most were from Addis Ababa city and between the ages of 18 to 25. Twenty contestants were selected to move on to the next round.
The second round of the competition had contestants in yellow swimsuits that seemed to compromise to fulfill the national need for modesty. This round, as famed feminist and social political activist Gloria Steinem says, “the swimsuit competition is probably the most honest part of the competition because it really is about bodies; it is about looking at women as objects.”
This was followed by evening gowns, as models slowly sashayed down the runway, with permanent smiles plastered on their faces. Some contestants seemed to be crowd favorites, gaining howls and screams from the sparse audience. 10 contestants were then selected to pass to the next round.