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Mocking The Misses

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 🙂

The beauty
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.

The controversy
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 brain
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!

The money
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.

Investment worthy?
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!

14 thoughts on “Mocking The Misses

  1. i think it’s not easy wearing a thong or even one piece swimming suit in front of people, it’s need more than courage….
    thet’s the point of view that i salute them then..
    It’s an industiries within, too hectic for me to get understand the whole package…..
    but actually, i’m quite pleased so see a bunch of beautifull ladies, just walking around the spotlight…..

    • You got it right. It is an industry exploiting women. My objection is that beauty doesn’t always mean showing the body too much. If beauty pageants are a quest to beauty and brain, the execution lies only in beauty & being sexy.

  2. I was pretty confused to to find myself on the FPI side – more or less . I feel relieved by your entry though; in the bull’s eye! :).

    (By association I thought of TV formats which also degrade people. Often by hypocritical competitions during which – except for a few real talents- people are televised publicly embarrassing themselves or Big Brother kind of programs exploiting white and other trash for the middle class to have fun with).

    • You are welcome Colson. I don’t have the illusion those pageants will stop, I just share what I think of them, FPI’s bikini ban request or not.

      I think with the transparency of the society & the tendency of admiring the so called celebrities, people are obsessed of being famous for the fame itself. They are prepared to do anything to get their 15 minutes of fame.

  3. Hahaha, same like Colson, I don’t think I would be on FPI’s side. Like you, I’m not against Beauty Pageant and not supporting it either. I think I’m ignorant of the existence. However, I will never LET any of my family especially my future daughters to ever enter or involve in any pageant.
    Sometimes, when I feel bad about myself (during that cycle of the month), I could just watch the misses being interviewed and MAN, I feel so good again!!! LOL.

    • Ha….ha…I read the other day a quote that Beauty Pageants exist for the sake of online entertainment. As far as I recall I only know ex Misses who are now active as an actress like Aishwarya Rai (Miss World 1994) en Michelle Yeoh (Miss Malaysia for Miss World 1983). I know no ex misses who are world well known active in politic, social, economy and other work field.

  4. I am an Indonesian woman with Arab ancestors. while my big family is ignorant about sharia law, I am not afraid to say that I am a reborn muslim and I have chosen to wear burqa, out of my own conscience after a long journey of learning about religions of the world. while I am absolutely not happy with FPI’s way or Hizbut Tahrir’s of expressing their thoughts, I am glad that the bikini show is banned. What is the point of the pageant anyway…? I truly hope these women would appreciate themselves more than running on competitions like this… I wish they’s start questioning themselves, “What do I live for” “what is there after death” “what’s the purpose of human creation” and then start seeking the answers…..

    • Hi Sofia,

      Sadly these women think they appreciate themselves by competing in beauty pageants. I don’t mind women wearing bikini in a modelling contest though because in that context models are supposed to be able to sell the bikini to custumers. What I do not agree is that beauty pageants are presented as a quest to an überwoman with beauty and brain. We all know the accent only lies on beauty. As I wrote above why is a bikini round necessary if the contestants wear a much revealing night gown in another presentation round. Is this not enough to judge their beauty (read: sexiness)? Bikini round is banned this year but I’m afraid it will come back next year. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Yang lucu, waktu final miss world itu, presenternya bilang : “Menjadi Miss World adalah mimpi semua perempuan”. Bahhhhhh menggeneralisasi banget. Mimpiku waktu kecil mau jadi atlet kok . 😀

  6. I was reading your blog and it made me really think about the real purpose of beauty pageants. On my blog, I have a post that discussed the Miss International 2013 beauty pageant held in Tokyo. As a man, I will not deny that I love to see beautiful women on stage. However, women should not be viewed as just being beautiful, but also intelligent. Like you said earlier, they focus more on the entertainment side of things than trying to educate people on finding solutions to fight cancer or eliminate poverty. There should be a balance of both entertainment and education. I think that beauty pageants will be more interesting to watch in the future. Just my thoughts.

  7. Kalo daku sih melihatnya sebagai salah satu cara untuk mengubah hidup bagi sebagian manusia dalam hal ini wanita, hanya saja standar yang dipakai adalah bule, otomatislah emang ini brand dagangnya mereka, oh ya soal perempuan indo telanjang dada, bukan WAS tapi masih sampai sekarang juga laki lakinya, paling gampang ya di Papua 🙂

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