Gender activists have bemoaned tendencies of castigating beauty queens on social media, arguing that such behaviour discourages models from participating in beauty pageants.
One of the activists, Emma Kaliya, expressed displeasure in an interview with The Nation following the recent postings of Miss Malawi Ireland which have attracted insults from some users on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.
The social media users have branded the winners of the pageant as ugly and over-aged, not befitting to represent Malawi with a beauty crown.
However, Kaliya said it is high time the law penalised such individuals who abuse others on social media.
She said: “There is so much excitement about social media and in Malawi I have a problem to appreciate the way people operate on social media.
“It’s maybe because people have not been taken to task for doing that. I hope that very soon these things will be handled in a professional way so that if people continue insulting others on social media, they should be taken to task.”
Kaliya said such tendencies of castigating women are a result of the country’s patriarchy system and ‘pull her down syndrome’ which, she said, if left unchecked could discourage women from actively participating in national events like beauty pageants.
Locally, Miss Malawi Beauty Pageant was revived last year after Nation Publications Limited and Zodiak Broadcasting Station took over the operating licence.
One of the organisers of Miss Malawi, Africano Phiri, said Malawians need to focus on the positive side of such events rather than dwelling on the negatives.
“As Malawians, we need to learn to appreciate and celebrate our talents.
“As much as feedback is important for every event, we need to avoid dwelling on the negatives that would affect the growth of the beauty industry,” he said.
Phiri, however, encouraged aspirants to always focus on their goals rather than allowing negative comments to bring them down.