Triggered by the controversy concerning the ban of bikini round in Miss World 2013 which is now being held in my native country, Indonesia I write this post. First of all: I am not a fan of beauty pageants, this post’s title shows it. However I won’t write about how women are being objectified, seen from the feminist’s point of view.
Instead I try to present some thoughts why I think this way. Being presented as contests searching for Beauty, Body and Brain the emphasis of beauty pageants lies only on Beauty and Body according to moi. Perhaps it was stupid of me to hold on to that Beauty, Body and Brain idea afterall the name is beauty pageant 🙂
All contestants are no doubt beautiful. But beauty can be easily enhanced nowadays. Thin lips? Make them luscious with lipfillers. Unfair complexion? Take a skin treatment. Messy eye brows? Get them done or just have them tattooed. It spares you 5 grueling minutes of putting make up on your face every morning. Thin hair? Wear hair weaving or wig. Beyoncé does and it looks almost natural on her. Who can define beauty anyway. Big butt is considered sexy is some culture while in others it is plain ugly. Most women in western hemisphere dream of tanned skin while in other part of the world women use bleach cream to lighten their skin. At the end beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I really DO NOT get the bikini round anyway. What is the point? Is wearing much revealing evening gown not enough to see if the contestants are sexy? Don’t get me wrong, I wear bikini myself but I wear it ON THE BEACH or in the swimming pool with flip flops or just on bare foot. Another thing I want to whine about is wearing high heeled sandals during the bikini round. This is just ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as I find Victoria Secret’s models strutting the lingerie with high heels on, wearing giant wings on their back (no darling, they are not angels) on the catwalk just for the sake of marketing the product.
Where the feminists in the 70s failed, Indonesian Moslim clerics (FPI) have succeeded pressing Miss World’s organisation to ban the bikini round. Instead the contestants will wear one piece swimwear. We’ll see. Although I don’t get the bikini round I disagree with FPI’s argument banning it. FPI said wearing bikini is against Indonesian culture. What Indonesian culture? There was time when women in some parts of Indonesia only wore sarung (this is how you spell sarong properly in Bahasa Indonesia) and bared their breast. FPI is determined to have Miss World 2013 in Indonesia cancelled which is faraway to achieve. Next point.
The questions asked during the final are not difficult to study how to answer them. You don’t have to be brilliant to answer them adequately. Some questions require easy social responsable answers. All the contestants need to do is knowing them by heart. There are some painful, shameful but oh so entertaining mistakes the contestants made. Imagine you stand on the podium in a bikini on high heels. All cameras and spotlight are on you. To make it worse you are being asked about what you think to stimulate woman’s emancipation. How would you answer properly?
Despite her rambling on an easy question Judge Diego Boneta asked: “If you could make a new law, what would it be?” Miss Venezuela Irene Sofia Esser Quintero became third in Miss Universe 2012.
Don’t forget there is also a language barriere too. Like Miss Indonesia 2009 had during her interview. Man, When I saw this for the first time, facepalmed!
Did you know countries make a bid of an amount of money to be able to organize the beauty pageants? The official organisations of the pageants apply franchise fees for this. Last information is USD 20.000 for Miss World and around USD 50.000 for Miss Universe. The franchise fee for Miss World varies depending on the bidding countries’ financial situations apparently. Lucrative TV and adverts deals also form another sources of income. To those who didn’t know Donald Trump owns Miss Universe organisation. Trump is a damn good businessman. For him it is business as usual, entertainment business.
The pros supporting beauty pageants defend this by saying they are good as a booster for tourism. I don’t expect significant rise of tourists visiting Indonesia because they have seen Miss World 2013 on tv. What I do believe at least more people in the world get to know that Bali is part of Indonesia.
Writing this I don’t have the intention to stop beauty pageants. It is the economic basic principle, supply and demand. As long as people love to see beauties parading their package, they will have them!