It’s high time that the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) seriously consider including men in their premier annual competition to choose the nation’s ambassador.
We’re not being facetious, we absolutely serious.
SEARCHLIGHT made this suggestion two years ago, and we make it again, especially in light of the CDC’s complaints that gate receipts have been dwindling.
A pageant in which we choose two ambassadors, a Mr SVG and a Miss SVG, would bring a novel touch to the annual show and would surely pique the interest of the public.
Very little of the pageant would have to change – all delegates (male and female) would compete in the swimwear, talent, evening wear and interview categories and the top male and top female would be chosen. Very little of the judging criteria would have to change.
Besides the added draw at the gate, there is another, more important reason why our premier pageant must evolve into one that is more inclusive.
We cannot on one hand be speaking about male marginalization and the need for our young men to lift their game, and continue to exclude them from the many positives that accrue to the delegates and winners of the Miss SVG pageant.
It is no secret that the motivating factor for most of the participants in this annual pageant is the opportunity it affords them to win a university scholarship. Proponents of pageants such as the Miss SVG show also 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. Who among us can say that our young men would not benefit from exposure to this type of training?
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? We suspect there are many, and that they would jump at the opportunity if it were given to them. Their only hesitation might be the reaction of the public to their participation in such a show, given the tendency of many 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.
A Mr SVG component of an SVG Ambassador show will be an opportunity to level the playing field and 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 2020?