It's a beautfiul world

Daily Echo: It's a beautfiul world It's a beautfiul world

I have always found it strange that beauty pageants evoke such fierce emotion in people.

During my time as a journalist I have covered several, and this time I was at the Miss Southampton competition.

When I mentioned the event, some thought it sounded exciting while others raised objections.

I think those who were opposed feared it may be a sleazy event with semi-naked women parading up and down a catwalk with just a bikini, a sash and a tiara to protect their dignity.

Sadly, this is not the case at all.

In the old days, it seemed these competitions would involve less clothes, empty-headed babbling about donkeys and world peace and, on occasion, having to date Peter Stringfellow.

However, the organisers were quick to point out they were looking for more than a pretty face and a smoking hot body – my words, not theirs.

Sure enough, when I looked at the list, hopefuls hailed from the worlds of academia, business and even the military.

When chatting with the girls, they seemed pleasant and modest to the point of being bashful.

When I arrived, the bosses said they had considered asking me to be a judge before they filled the five spots.

While this sounded interesting, I couldn’t help but feel my presence might have undone a lot of the good work they had done in making the pageant more respectable.

As these judges asked the women about charity work, ecological issues and healthy living, I couldn’t help but feel my request for star jumps would have seemed out of place.

I got lots of slightly warped feedback regarding the event. Some emails mentioned how attractive the girls were; others criticised imaginary flaws in the beauties with the misplaced arrogance of a married man thumbing through a lingerie catalogue, muttering “would, wouldn’t... maybe if she begged for a couple of hours”.

The finalists included top level graduates, hard-working career women and fundraisers who individually have raised up to £25,000.

Comments (1)

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2:32pm Tue 21 Jun 11

MrHarsh says...

Simon does his best here, but fails to see that there is a distinction between disapproval of beauty contests per se and of their contestants. I agree that his correspondents who sought to find flaws in the appearance of the contestants were obviously deluded. The contest was held in a nightclub (it is unclear whether this was the “sophisticated” lap dancing establishment he visited some time ago) but the contestants had been previously subject to a public vote based on their photographs on the Miss England website. These photographs in large part harked back to the days Simon wistfully recalls of the swimsuit round. Unfortunately, the website had no room to list their academic and philanthropic achievements, between the adverts for model agencies, so the arrogant married (and unmarried, I would warrant) men voting were forced to pick the one they liked the look of. It is quite possible, and indeed irrelevant, that the contestants were “top level graduates, hard-working career women and fundraisers” – only a sexist would think that they would have to be stupid – but as a high-flying polyversity graduate himself, Simon should know that the acquisition of academic titles has in itself little to do with a sense of political and social equality. The contest was open to women between the ages of 17 (!) and 24. Even in this narrow range there were no overweight, disabled or “not conventionally beautiful” entrants. If it were, as Simon tries to suggest, an intelligence contest or “best charity fundraiser”, why restrict the field so much?
I think when Peter Stringfellow hangs up his leopard-print thong, we have a worthy successor.

Harsh Words: 100 milliHarshes
Simon does his best here, but fails to see that there is a distinction between disapproval of beauty contests per se and of their contestants. I agree that his correspondents who sought to find flaws in the appearance of the contestants were obviously deluded. The contest was held in a nightclub (it is unclear whether this was the “sophisticated” lap dancing establishment he visited some time ago) but the contestants had been previously subject to a public vote based on their photographs on the Miss England website. These photographs in large part harked back to the days Simon wistfully recalls of the swimsuit round. Unfortunately, the website had no room to list their academic and philanthropic achievements, between the adverts for model agencies, so the arrogant married (and unmarried, I would warrant) men voting were forced to pick the one they liked the look of. It is quite possible, and indeed irrelevant, that the contestants were “top level graduates, hard-working career women and fundraisers” – only a sexist would think that they would have to be stupid – but as a high-flying polyversity graduate himself, Simon should know that the acquisition of academic titles has in itself little to do with a sense of political and social equality. The contest was open to women between the ages of 17 (!) and 24. Even in this narrow range there were no overweight, disabled or “not conventionally beautiful” entrants. If it were, as Simon tries to suggest, an intelligence contest or “best charity fundraiser”, why restrict the field so much? I think when Peter Stringfellow hangs up his leopard-print thong, we have a worthy successor. Harsh Words: 100 milliHarshes MrHarsh

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