Following are excerpts from a TV report on a Saudi “moral beauty” pageant, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on August 2, 2009.
Reporter: Female beauty is no longer dependent on looks alone. This has been replaced by moral values and conduct – the new criteria in the first contest of moral beauty queens in Saudi Arabia. In the contest, which was organized by a women’s festival, several girls competed for the title.
Contest supervisor Khadhraa Al-Mubarak: In our contacts with girls in general, we noticed that they follow false notions, due to the purposeless Western notions, conveyed by some TV channels. The girls are preoccupied with their external appearance only. This is how we came up with the idea of creating an alternative. So we thought of a contest for the title of moral beauty queen. The goal is, first and foremost, to spread virtue, even if through different means. In this contest, we focus on the theme of honoring one’s parents.
Moral beauty queen Aya Al-Mula: We were like sisters in a family. It was very nice. The contest focused on external skills, such as home design or skin care, and internal abilities, such as interpersonal skills and personal improvement.
First runner-up Hawraa Al-Mahdi: I entered the contest and the courses, which were very nice. They judged my personality, both externally and internally.
Second runner-up Fatima Al-Tarouti: I was the youngest contestant. Even though I didn’t win the contest, it’s enough that I made it to the finals.
Reporter: The contestants acquired many social and interpersonal skills, before the elimination process began and the winner was announced. The contestants who lost did not leave the contest empty-handed. Their very participation in the contest was rewarding.