I’m sexy, sweet and want world peace

Published: October 31, 2010

There was a battle in Sanya, China today. 115 pretty, young contestants were competing against each other and in the end, Miss USA, Alexandria Mills won the title of Miss World 2010.

She is, or so the organizers of the pageant tell us,  the most beautiful miss in the world.

What a thing to be told!

But what about the remaining ladies? Weren’t they left behind feeling ugly?  They must have felt hopeless and rejected.

Pageants have often been criticized for being demeaning and accused of making  women feel bad about themselves. Also, many feel that these are beyond just being contests of beauty.

Remember the time when there was a string of winners from India that was rumored to simply support the booming cosmetic market there at that time.

There have also been racial issues involved. Helen Lawal, Miss York 2009 , for example, received death threats soon after winning the title. Being a black woman born in Nigeria, some apparently felt that she was not indigenous enough.

Past winner Aishawarya Rai, also had to bear the wrath of critics for not being able to answer a single question without a giggle on the Oprah Winfrey show. No one liked her way of speaking and people were left wondering at the standards of grooming of the Miss World contest. Fingers were pointed at the credibility of the question and answer round in the final, which is when judges try to ascertain the grey matter a contestant has got.

Beauty is supposed to be timeless but not according to pageant rules.  Next year, Miss USA will no longer be the most beautiful girl in the world. She will be replaced by the next winner. Perhaps it is this feature of the beauty competition that serves to reminds us that physical beauty is fickle and actually it is the beauty of the soul that will keep evolving and it is this beauty that will remain.


Waqas Rafique

An Islamabad based journalist who was a former employee of Express News. He tweets @waqasrafique (twitter.com/waqasrafique)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Alizeh

    so profound- i’ve actually never seen read about beauty pageants in this light before.


  • irfan urfi


  • Iftikhar Ahmed


    At first I thought that you have initiated this blog for yourself, but off-course that was not the case. Without any doubt, beauty contests are never without elements of controversy, and your views here are the facts.

    I read a news – in Daily Express yesterday – reagarding a statement by US States Office showing that Black Water was sanctioned illegal (contradictory claims that operations were not authorised by senior command) missions in Pakistan by US agencies. I was wondering why no one is discussing that anywhere. I have seen so-called bright-minded people who right-away terms these news as conspiracy theories without considering the source and information. (Ref: Daily Express, Oct 30, 2010 Page 8)

    However, it is interesting to mention that there was another statement on the same page by our Interior Minister: “Balck Water is not in Pakistan, if Jamat-e-Islami can give evidence that I will Take action in 24 Hours”. (Ref: Daily Express, Oct 30, 2010 Page 8)

    I am really confused. (Without any doubt one of these two news is incorrect)…. Newspapers have a responsbility of keeping trust of their readers and more importantly towards safeguarding interests of the society and the State.Recommend

  • http://grsalam.wordpress.com Ghausia

    Beauty pageants- contributing to low self-esteem and poor image of women since the dawn of time.Recommend

  • Jhonedoe

    I am sure Waqas you want peace but I don’t think you have called youself sexy and sweet. It must have been an erroy by the ‘respected’ editor. I hope that tribune will get mature in next five years.Recommend

  • Sehrish

    agreed with above. title is weird and inappropriate- trying to be cute and funny. fail.

    article is about as dry as 2 week old bread. Recommend

  • http://grsalam.wordpress.com Ghausia

    @Jhonedoe I really want to be the one to point this out. Apparently, you missed the part where the writer wasn’t referring to himself, but was speaking from the POV of a beauty pageant contestant; “Look at me, I’m cute, sweet, fun, and want world peace!” More like an error by you apparently, lol. Maybe next time, don’t skim through the article quickly and thus make hasty judgments. :DRecommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    Parading pieces of flesh!Recommend

  • parvez

    If you look at this whole “beauty thing” as a business, then it may make some sense.
    Credit to you for writing on something different.Recommend

  • Sana

    different? i feel like i just read the same contrived story for the millionth time. Recommend

  • Talha

    The thing with beauty pageants is that they serve a purpose in our materialistic world today as a platform to show the superficial side of a nation, certainly these participants are groomed and compete to represent their country in that manner. This is important on an international stage to attract positive attention for other purposes such as business.

    Pakistan tried to start participating in beauty pageants in the 50’s but the religious elements put an end to it.

    Pakistan: Veiled UniverseRecommend

  • Sehrish

    Talha- now THERE’S a story.Recommend

  • Talha

    I do think that Pakistan should enter such competitions, it is a good platform to attract some positive attention towards a country.

    India won a number of times and it only enhanced its image globally.Recommend

  • Iftikhar Ahmed


    I seriously disagree that this would improve image of Pakistan. The thing is that Pakistan should have its own image. Doing this sort of participation would simply mean that we are trying to adopt others’ perceptions and views. It would be like painting a crow with white paint and assuming it will convert into a pigeon. All nations try to promote their own culture and values and being Pakistanis we should do the same. We have our own culture values and perceptions. As an individual we are free to do any kind of act (bcoz we are responsible for our acts) but acts on behalf of nations should only be those which represent those nations.

    The problem is not that we should go to all the lengths to show we are liberal or moderate. It is nobody’s problem what we do and how we act unless we have a direct impact on others. Moreover, it is the Pakistanis who in most parts of the world are notorious for their deception and dishonesty.

    Rather than such stupid ideas we should try to improve our image as a nation with High values of Honesty, Integrity, Kindness, Tolerance and Politeness. By the way these should be essential attributes of a muslim.

    Giving example of India is absurd. That beauty contest stunt was to promote the beauty-care products market in India which was already well established in Pakistan so there are no chances that such stunts are required.used in Pakistan. That is a country with more poors than combined numbers of Africa.Recommend

  • Saba

    “more poors than combined numbers of africa”

    i know things are bad, but that is delusional. as well as bad spelling and grammar.

    as for beauty pageants and pakistan- pakistani women are already competing in them. but since we are so discouraging, none of the women who are competing and representing pakistan are remotely good. they’re often an embarassment. i think beauty pageants are beyond lame, but if they’re going to continue to exist, and we’re going to have women who represent us and make us look even more pathetic, we should atleast condemn women less and let them make their own choices. there are christian women here, and other women who are not very religious and already wear “western clothes”. if they were to compete in a beauty pageant, they wouldn’t be revealing any more than they already do- so who are we to scorn them for not being islamic enough? besides, the jinnah you all love wanted this to be a secular state. he wouldn’t have loved the idea of beauty pageants but i believe he wouldn’t have banned them or declared them antithetical to pakistan.

    thats the whole problem- people here are too obsessed with what women do or don’t do than they are with solving all the other problems in the country.

    im not a huge fan of beauty pageants, but i maintain what i said earlier. the link from a 1956 issue of Time magazine which Talha provided is a bigger story than stale article. If you were to elaborate on that and what could have been, it might make for an interesting read.Recommend

  • rocket

    by that logic every competition(sports,elections,and yes exams) in this world should cease to exist,as it leaves behind (in your words)the losers,hopeless and rejected…Recommend

  • http://grsalam.wordpress.com Ghausia

    Don’t you guys know that there already is a Miss Pakistan beauty pageant held in Canada? In fact this year it was held in Pakistan, there was controversy over it cause it was held during the flood crisis. Most of the winners from it are actually smart women, I hate to support beauty pageant winners but its somewhat similar to when people criticize the elite classes for their activities such as the Pakistan fashion week thing. How, you ask, does it contribute to Pakistan? We have a whole world out there that thinks we ride around on camels, walk on the streets by ducking behind cars to avoid gunfights, are forced to wear burqas, can’t mingle with men, don’t have restaurants, etc. So if the world sees a woman in a pageant and she happens to be Pakistani, won’t they sit up and think, huh? So women in Pakistan are this liberated? She’s not scared that people will threaten her or issue fatwas against her. So it can’t be as bad for women as it seems. Its a distasteful way of doing it, I don’t like it at all but at least from our perspective you can’t deny that its a good thing.Recommend

  • Neeraj, India

    Mr. author, I don’t want to be unnecessarily critical of you, but, I am sorry to say that you didn’t tell us anything new. Everyone of us, with a little common sense, know that those, so called beauty queens, are nothing but creations of television dramas, only to enhance ATP ratings.
    The bitter truth is, nobody, whether a man or a woman, can be described as a perfectly beautiful person, simply because there is no such thing as perfection in the world. Everyone has his/her good and ugly.
    However, that doesn’t mean that we cannot love others. I love my family and friends without any inhibitions and they do the same for me. If you really want to find a beautiful person, just go to a mother, whether human or an animal one, you will find an incredibly unconditional love, but, sadly, that is biology! Recommend

  • Talha

    @ Iftikhar Ahmed

    Quite a shallow argument you have put forward, firstly, such events are used to showcase the countries values and culture allowing others to delve into a nations practices albeit the superficial ones in this case.

    Even if no one participates in such competition, Pakistan does not have any platform to showcase its unique and vibrant culture. Similarly India did not only gain business related benefits but also glamour and respect because of their participation in such events.

    What exactly has “High values of Honesty, Integrity, Kindness, Tolerance and Politeness” going to achieve for us.

    Btw how can Pakistan have ‘more poors than combined numbers of Africa’ and also have ‘well established’ cosmetics market in Pakistan.

    Sounds like an oxymoron of sorts.Recommend

  • Saba

    The last thing I have to say- the comments section was SO MUCH MORE interesting than the article itself. Recommend

  • Amna


    Your concept of what will make Pakistan “look good” in the world is so immature. Yea and the corruption and joke of a government and illiteracy amongst our people, all of that doesn matter. As long as we have a Miss Pakistan contest. Sorry to say, but Miss Pakistan will not help improve Pakistan’s image. African countries and other third world nations take place in the Miss Universe competition as well. Doesnt make them look great. I live in the US, and trust me….there are many naive people who can think what they want about Pakistan, but anyone with half a brain and some common sense…can see through it all, and can see the real isses that Pakistan has. Lets focus on the real stuff people.Recommend

  • http://grsalam.wordpress.com Ghausia

    @Amna, well I think you’re very wrong. As long as people see us as an oppressive terrorist nation, we can’t possibly survive in this world. If people see us in a positive light, such as the fact that our women are liberated, not oppressed, they’re going to start thinking that its not as bad as the media would have them think. Our tourism industry would pick up, there’d be more people willing to invest in our business sector, we’d have an easier time studying abroad, hell maybe even have a teacher exchange program to help with the dearth of good teachers here, and once we work on that, we’d have more educated individuals that would be able to stand up to the government. Disgusting as I find pageants, I do think they give us an advantage of sorts in this regard. Rude of you to imply that I have half a brain and no common sense by the way, lack of netiquette much?

    And lastly, we’re not Africa or other third world nations. I’m speaking from a Pakistani perspective, according to the problems we face, other than corruption and illiteracy.Recommend

  • Amna

    Firstly, I would like to apologize if you though my “half-Brain” commment was towards you. It wasnt. I just was just implying how obvious it is to people in other countries…that even someone half-brained gets it.

    Secondly, I don’t think media coverage and a paegant will help with the issues you are mentioning. Economic stability and just plain safety will. “enlightnened moderation” and things of that nature will never bring about true change. Those are things the average Pakistani can worry about when they can put food on the table.I think our elite forget what the real problems are.Recommend

  • Ahmed


    How such contest can present values of anislamic country? Encourage your near and dear ones to participate if you can dare….

    Secondly, read. India has more poors than combined number of poors in africa.

    Pakistan’s image will never improve from such meaningless activities, we need to evaluate what affects our image in the world. Search a bit and you would realise what ethicalvales can do for Pakistan. Recommend

  • Ahmed


    It is India that has more poors than combined number of poors in africa. sorry for confusionif any.

    Secondly, try to look for different events that are part of such contents and than you would know if your statement still stands “if they were to compete in a beauty pageant, they wouldn’t be revealing any more than they already do- so who are we to scorn them for not being islamic enough?”

    everyone has ones point of view and i am talking from utility of such contests.Recommend

  • Usama Khilji

    serves to remind* usRecommend

  • Saba

    @ all of you who insist on using the word “poors”:
    what the heck are “poors”?

    learn english, if not converse in urdu. Recommend