I am sitting here wrapping up on end of year reports and reading all the wonderful updates of the Miss World 2015 pageant. I am bursting with pride and joy for Miss World Samoa’s ( tama’ita’i o Latafale Auva’a) current standings in the various categories.
I’m sure you can read up on those placings elsewhere – what I’d like to chat about is what this means for our young women. The aspiring Samoan teine (Samoan girl) or any daughter of the Pacific in terms of our place in society.
Now I’m only going to put out there my thoughts and welcome your manatu (thoughts) around women empowerment, challenges we face as a collective and our aspirations for tomorrow’s girl power!
This is not just for Pacific but I will only build context for thought around what I am most familiar with and that is who I am – a tama’ita’i Samoa (Samoan and female).
There was heated debates around how Latafale would get to Miss World and from the sounds of things not everyone was on board. I say good on her! These days the very communities (even families) can be the critics that hold back our young people from saying yes to new experiences. Why couldn’t Miss Samoa or any other Pacific beauty queen look beyond the Miss South Pacific crown and aim for what is generally perceived as being for ‘mainstream’ or my pet peeve ‘that is only for palagi’.
For those who know me personally (probably a good thing not many do :P) I am a free-spirit. You ask me about race and I say talk to me about the human race. You want to discuss religion why not talk about who is God to you because I want to imagine your God’s beauty. Not to compare but merely so I can experience you piece of heaven for moment. Yes – my openness to learn from another extends from my passion for education.
My dad (a man of many ‘worldly’ pieces of advice) always stressed to my sister and I the importance of being knowledgeable. Not to be a ‘matter-of-fact’ fiapoko kind of way. But knowledgeable to make informed decisions based on the endless possibilities that life has to offer. He was far from optimistic at times but perhaps he knew that in future everything would change. They sure have… in some cases they haven’t.
The thing is – Miss World Samoa’s participation is significant. How? it’s like every time a young man from South Auckland is selected for a representative side of rugby his status goes from low socio-economic upbringing destined for jail, pre-determined from stats on a paper kid to a potential legend of the sport provided that he is from similar stock as the very first kid that did just that!
Latafale’s progress in this pageant means other young women can now identify themselves as being future candidates. It’s like when Barack Obama went into office – for a number of years this seemed impossible. Even I was proud for a country that I’m not affiliated too. Why? because when you’re the first to get there – you have taken one for the team and brought to life the dream!
There’s so much to elaborate on in regards to how this makes me feel, think and know to be true for the future – but it would be great to talanoa (talk/chat) with anyone who thinks alike, differently or not at all.
This post is also to celebrate the positive vibes on my twitfeed. It is great to see more cohesiveness and less bitterness at one another. We can be so quick to put our peers down and for a change we are uplifting by celebrating the mini milestones in one’s journey.
Wishing you all a fantastic December – go Miss World Samoa, seki a oe 🙂