A leading UK beauty pageant has vowed to keep its swimwear round, despite a US-equivalent deciding to scrap the event from its competition.
Earlier this month, the Miss America beauty pageant said contestants would no longer have to take part in a mandatory bikini round. The pageant’s managers said the shift would put more emphasis on a contestant’s talents and skills, rather than her looks.
But the organisers of Miss Great Britain told Sky News that they had no plans to follow suit.
“We fully appreciate the potentially divisive nature of our decision but it is based on what our contestants want and have asked for,” a spokesperson said.
“Many of those stated that the swimwear round made them feel most empowered and focused.
“The contestants choose their own swimwear and we make it clear that sarongs, kaftans and swimwear of any description is allowed and the ladies embrace this personal choice.”
The 2017 #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment which started in Hollywood has led to a greater scrutiny of the objectification of women across the globe.
Earlier this year, F1 racing decided it would no longer use promotion women, known as grid girls. Similarly, the British Professional Darts Corporation stopped using “walk-on-girls” as player escorts.
But the decision by Miss Great Britain to keep its round has been welcomed by some in the pageant industry.
Poppy Haskell is Miss Swimwear UK. She says winning the contest, which involved her wearing a bikini in front of judges, has kick-started her career in modelling and promotions work.
“Women know exactly what they are going into,” Miss Haskell told Sky News.
“They are normally using pageants as a catalyst for a further end career goal. And I think taking that away is taking away their choice, which is a negative thing.”
Images of bikini-clad women are difficult to avoid on TV or social media, especially during the summer.
Body image expert Natashe Devon told Sky News that where it can become a problem if these image promote one body-type as the ideal.
“If you are bombarded by unrealistic imagery of people who look unattainable, then it’s going start to negatively affect your self-esteem,” Ms Devon said.
“But if your body diverges from what we consider to be beautiful, if for example we have scars, or blemishes or stretch marks, you are representing something that is a little bit different, then it’s been shown to have a positive impact on how people feel about themselves.”
That is what led one woman to create the a plus-size beauty pageant.
Samantha Coote founded Miss British Beauty Curve, a pageant for women size 14 or over, after she felt unable to enter a traditional pageant because she was plus-size. Ms Coote says her contest does have a swimwear round, and for plus-size ladies it’s liberating.
“It’s a great round, it’s fun!” Ms Coote told Sky News.
“Society makes us feel so self-conscious as women about our bodies.
“And I think it should be celebrated, and why shouldn’t we wear swimwear, whatever size we are?”
From – SkyNews