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Protest against beauty contests was a worldwide phenomenon - The Indian Express

K G Suresh ()
22 November 1996

Title : Protest against beauty contests was a worldwide phenomenon
Author : K G Suresh
Publication : The Indian Express
Date : November 22, 1996

The protests against the Miss World contest or beauty
pageants, projected by the latter's supporters and the
Western media as "politically motivated" and reflective
of a "narrow-minded outlook", is not something new or
peculiar to India. Rather, a peep into the history would
reveal that the history of protests is as old as the
pageants themselves.

One of the very first actions of the newly-emergent
women's liberation movement in the United States of
America was the protest action against the Miss America
pageant of 1968 in Atlantic City.

Thousands of women protested against the gala event.
There were picket lines, guerilla theatre and leaflet-
ting. Boycotts were announced of all commercial products
related to the pageant. When Miss America was being
crowned at midnight a massive women's rally was out on
the streets. The live telecast of the pageant was dis-
rupted by the protestors as millions watched it on tele-

"Mis-fit refuses to conform, mis-conception demands free
abortion for all women and misplaced demands a chance to
get out of the house, "were the popular slogans which
gained currency during the first Miss World contest in
London in 1969. School girls used to set off stink bombs
in Kensington high street boutiques and ring up the
Press. It was an expression of their anger at the alleged
"exploitation of women as consumers of fashion."

During the 1970 Miss World contest, over a hundred women
stormed into the venue of the event and threw stink
bombs, shouting slogans, "We are not beautiful, we are
not ugly. We are angry."

In May 1994, as the Miss Universe contest finals at
Manila, millions of TV viewers all over the world saw
women protesting against the event.

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