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Why not a Mr SVG Pageant as well?

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The nation earlier this week was introduced to seven young Vincentian women who will, in June this year, compete for the title of Miss SVG 2017.

Although the prestige and honour of being called Miss St Vincent and the Grenadines may be prize enough for many, the motivating factor for most of the participants in this annual pageant is the opportunity it affords them to win a university scholarship.

At the sashing ceremony earlier this week, LaFerne Fraser, head of the Beauty Shows Committee (BSC) of the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) announced innovations for this year’s show including having the delegates involve themselves in an empowerment campaign for women and girls in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Proponents of pageants such as the Miss SVG show emphasize the development aspects of the pageant preparation period during which the participants are trained in social graces, deportment, dressing appropriately, public speaking, fitness and nutrition, healthy lifestyles, among other areas. Aficionados of the Miss SVG pageant say in no way does our show objectify women as the judging criteria is weighted heavily to reward intelligence and talent.

This then brings us to the question: “Why aren’t similar opportunities for advancement being afforded our young men?” Are there not fit, intelligent, talented and articulate young men out there who would welcome the opportunity to use these personal attributes to win a scholarship? Are there no issues affecting men in our society that need to be ventilated?

We suspect there are many eligible young men out there who might jump at the opportunity if it were to be given to them. Their only hesitation might be the reaction of the general public to their participation in such a show, given the tendency of many in our society to stereotype men who model, dance or are fastidious about their personal appearance.

We often lament how few of our young men, in comparison to women have been accessing tertiary education, the general deportment of our boys in public places and the large numbers who get caught up at an early age in the criminal justice system. The truth is, as a society, we do not pay as much attention to raising our boys as we do our girls.

The Mr SVG show will be an opportunity to level the playing field and to open for young men an opportunity not previously available to them, which our young women have had for nearly two decades. Moreover, with the CDC searching for ideas to bring the crowds back to the Victoria Park, the novelty of such a show would be guaranteed to generate significant interest among the public. Why not give it a try for 2018?

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