Beauty Pageants, Controverted Decisions and Emotional Outpour: An Analysis of Social Media Posts on GHANA'S MOST BEAUTIFUL

Andy Ofori-Birikorang, Ama Boatemaa Appiah-Kubi, Akosua Asantewaa Anane, Yvonne Dedzo


Since its emergence, beauty pageantry as a cultural even and entertainment programme has been predominantly characterized as controversial and an unwelcome social venture. Scholars like Cohen, Wilk and Stoeltje (1996) reiterate this by arguing that beauty pageants have become sites of controversy and resistance. In Ghana, most of these controversies take the form of audience uproar and outburst on social media, especially at the end of the contest when expectations are not met. Following the excessive amount of data social media generates on the beauty contest, it has become all-important for researchers to focus our attention on interrogating the posts shared by audiences as well as the emotions seeded in them. The study, therefore, examines social media posts of audiences on an indigenous beauty pageant in Ghana, Ghana’s Most Beautiful (GMB). The paper adopts the Reader-Response theory, Philosophical Hermeneutics and Ekman and Friesen's six basic emotions to interrogate Facebook users’ posts on the coronation of the 2017 and 2018 beauty Queens, Zeinab and Abena. Using qualitative content analysis, cyber ethnographic and thematic analysis of several purposively sampled Facebook posts, the study revealed that through emotional outpour of anger, disgust, sadness, surprise, and happiness, audience raised contemptuous and social issues such as corruption, aspersions, signification/ethnocentrism, and objectification. Withal, they also highlighted issues like glorification, and divination. Again, the study found that the beauty queens, through users’ posts were represented as commodities, assertive, purposeful, heroic and intelligent. The study concludes that organizers of GMB re-consider a total restructuring of the pageant into one that embraces cultural differences devoid of commodification and oppression of women.

Keywords: Ghana’s Most Beautiful, Beauty pageants, audience emotions, emotional display, social media

DOI: 10.7176/NMMC/97-05

Publication date:August 31st 2021

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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