The competition will be staged in Bali, no stranger to its share of terrorist violence, and where tourists are not expected to don conservative beachwear, but chairwoman Julia Morley has decided none of her 137 beauties will wear a bikini.
“I don’t want to upset or get anyone in a situation where we are being disrespectful."
“We treasure respect for all the countries that take part in the pageant."Then why on earth hold it in a country with religious fanatics who are so easily offended? There are plenty of other tropical resort areas that would have gladly hosted the event. But they chose Indonesia and are now suffering a backlash from the hardliners who want the whole thing cancelled, or else.
[The Indonesian Ulema] Council cleric Muhyidin Djunaedi accused the event of “promoting hedonism, materialism and consumerism”, and said contestants were not positive role models for Muslim youth.Ismail Yusanto of Indonesia's Hizb ut-Tahrir said of the beauty pageant:
“Supporting this event is the same as supporting the selling of women's bodies."
“Women are lowering themselves by allowing themselves to be turned into objects, to be stared at and have their bodies measured.”And Chep Hernawan of the Islam Reformist Movement (GARIS) said:
“They will still wear outfits that will encourage sex and immoral acts."Stupid of the organizers to not have anticipated any of this backlash.
Ironically, beauty pageants do objectify women, but if you're offended by it, then don't watch it.
Apparently the bikini issue was part of the initial agreement when Indonesia "agreed to host the event," and not a caving in to the negative reaction of radical groups.
“We discussed the beach fashion issue last year with Miss World in London before we even agreed to host the event because we knew this would be sensitive in Indonesia,” said Nana Putra from media group MNC, the official broadcaster and local organiser.The finals are to be held in Bogor, West Java.
I hope they have plenty of security there.
Sources: The Raw Story, Al Arabiya