VOICES OF RESISTANCE AGAINST BEAUTY CONTESTS
VOICES OF RESISTANCE
AGAINST BEAUTY CONTESTS
Newsletter Nov 1996
One of the very first actions of the newly emergent women’s liberation movement in the USA was the protest action against the Miss America Pageant of 1968 in Atlantic City.
Thousands of women protested against the image of Miss America, an image that oppressed women in every area it sought to represent them. There were picket lines, guerilla theatre and leafletting. Boycotts were announced of all commercial products related to the pageant. When Miss America was being crowned at midnight, a massive Women's Liberation rally was out on the streets. The live telecast of the pageant was disrupted by the protesters as millions watched on television.
Slogans which emerged at the First Miss World Protest in Britain:
MIS—FIT REFUSES TO CONFORM
MIS—CONCEPTION DEMANDS FREE
ABORTION FOR ALL WOMEN
MIS-PLACED DEMANDS A CHANCE TO
GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
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 exploitation of women as consumers of fashion.
Four women disrupted the Miss World contest at the Albert Hall in full view of television cameras.
Over a hundred women demonstrated inside the hall of the Miss World contest, throwing stink bombs and shouting the slogan: “We're not beautiful. We're not ugly. We're angry!”
A group of 70 women in Aurangabad surrounded a Rotoract Club sponsored beauty contest and tore off their banners. “A beauty contest is not only an exhibition of a woman’s body, but is an insult to her intelligence and self respect.”
In May 1994, as the Miss Universe contest was being held in Manila, millions of viewers all over the world saw women protesting against the event. Women activists of GABRIELA, a national federation of women’s organisations in the Philippines gheraoed the contest hall, wearing sashes displaying titles like Miss Unemployment, Miss Illiteracy, Miss Poverty etc.
Jan 14, 1994
Bailancho Manch militantly protested against the Femina Beauty Contest in Goa. They declared that such beauty contests reduce women to sex objects in order to serve commercial interests. The activists condemned the involvement of the Goa Tourism Department, which for years through its sexist advertising had distorted the image of Goa as a land of “wine and women”. The advertising department of the Times of India, one of the organisers, served a legal notice to Bailancho Manch, while Crime Branch policemen did several rounds of activists’ houses.
Jan 21, 1995
Saheli, along with AIDWA, NFIW, Gender Studies Group (Delhi University) and others demonstrated outside the Times Building against the Bennett Coleman and Co. Sponsored Miss India Contest. They strongly condemned the profiteering of companies and newspapers like TOI who are largely responsible for the propagation of the beauty contest culture to promote consumerism. “Sell products not women”, “Stop commodification of women”, were some of the slogans.
November 1996, WOMEN’S GROUPS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY UNITE TO PROTEST MISS WORLD 1996!