BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Talking Point  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Monday, 9 December, 2002, 10:16 GMT
Should the Miss World pageant have gone ahead?
Miss World entrants pose for the cameras at the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel in west London
London Mayor Ken Livingstone has condemned the decision to go ahead with the Miss World contest in the capital after it had brought "tragedy and strife" to Africa.

The contest was relocated from Nigeria after 220 died in riots surrounding the event and took place in London on Saturday afternoon.

Feminists have long opposed the event as a sexist and demeaning institution but this year's contest in particular attracted controversy before it started.

Six contestants are still boycotting the pageant over Nigeria's decision to condemn a woman to death by stoning for committing adultery.

Riots erupted after a journalist wrote in a Lagos newspaper that the Prophet Mohammed might have approved of the contest and perhaps have chosen to marry one of the entrants.

Organisers claim more than a billion people will watch the competition but nobody in Britain will as none of the country's television channels has consented to broadcast it.

Do you think it was in bad taste to go ahead with the contest? Are beauty pageants altogether out of date? Can the competition be blamed for the religious rioting?

This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

I thought the whole point of feminism was to give women equality and choice? If these women want to show of their bodies - let them. Women shouldn't be quarrelling with each other - no wonder it's a man's world!
Tamara Chase, Dublin, Ireland

Why not? What on earth has it got to do with politics or religion?
Mahesh Chandra Somani, Finland

Unfortunately "morality" seems to ring hallow for many people these days. But when society starts paying that price with the proliferation of child porn, for example, then people ask how did we get here? Holding the Miss World contest was immoral in more ways than one.
Barry, UK

The problem doesn't lie with the contestants, but the odd people that watch it

Di, U.K
As long as women want to parade themselves to be the best, What can we do? They're promoting themselves. The problem doesn't lie with the contestants, but the odd people that watch it.
Di, U.K.

Yes, I think the pageant should go ahead. Don't forget it was the Miss World contestants who stood against the stoning of an Islamic women for giving birth out of wedlock. Extremism is to blame for the bloodshed; much more so than the writer. The contestants are not to blame at all. A beauty pageant is a voluntary contest, although it's not rocket science I do not believe they are outdated. This is a way to pay for schooling for many women the world.
Bunne, U.S.A

Beauty pageants are not out of date. Beauty contest has been around for ages. Why should we even contemplate of stopping it now? Those who are trying to stop it are hypocrites who are using religion as an excuse. Let us think about the benefits those women give to the society
J Ajilore, USA

The bad taste is from those who blame Miss World for the events in Nigeria. Miss World is an irrelevance and deserves no attention. The events in Nigeria are due to increasing tensions and fragmentation within Nigeria, this is not the first mass killing spree. This violence was opportunistic from self-interested groups.
Barry B, UK

No, it is not bad taste to go on with life as normal despite the will of some fanatics. It is the only reasonable way. What is out of date is not the beauty pageant, but the religious rioting.
Orly, Israel

As long as women from around the world are willing to enter the beauty pageant there will be forms of beauty contests. The organisers must carefully chose the countries to host the events and respect that in some cultures beauty pageants may be regarded as degrading. And in countries where there isn't even enough food, why have a beauty pageant there?
Lee, UK

Miss World has had its day. This contest is an insult to the human race, parading humans similar to cattle. It should have been axed at least 25 years ago.
Carl, UK

Crass, out of date, camp, entertaining low-brow pap

Mark, UK
If only a UK network would start broadcasting it again, it would be nearly as popular as Eurovision. Crass, out of date, camp, entertaining low-brow pap like this is harmless except to small minded bigots and religious fanatics.
Mark, UK

I find it degrading for women to be displayed on stage like sex slaves with millions of people watching. Women are the bearers of families and should be elevated to a high status in the world and society. Respect women, it is already a man's world with their rights already taken away from them in a lot of countries around the world. Miss World should be cancelled altogether.
Khaled Taha, United Arab Emirates

I do not think the display of such natural beauty offends God, nor do I think these contests necessarily degrade women. I think society should instead place more emphasis upon spiritual values.

One better idea would be to reward those girls who do something for the cause of world peace, for human rights, for the environment or for humanitarian causes. If it were my choice, the winners among these beauty queens for this year would be all six of those contestants who boycotted the pageant. But the question remains, who am I to impose my values on others?
Ali Sina, Canada

Great, this most pointless of pageants comes to London. If the contestants had any guts they would have pulled out of the original contest and certainly stopped after the bloodshed. Having the clothes horses here hardly makes me proud of my country.
Iain, London, UK

It's about as relevant as Benny Hill

Jon Jennings, UK
Miss World died in the 80s. It's about as relevant to modern day society as Benny Hill. Nobody's paying attention anymore.
Jon Jennings, UK

The Miss World contest didn't bring tragedy and strife to Africa. Idiotic newspaper headlines and religious psychopaths did! By Ken Livingstone's logic, we should condemn all women, as they are so often the subjects of barbaric behaviour in the Muslim world. Ken has an uncanny knack for drawing the wrong conclusion from a valid observation.
Ray, UK

I have no problem with Miss World, the layers of irony that it has in a post-feminist world are quite intriguing. Fair play to any contestants who boycott over Nigeria's barbaric practices.
Joseph Peace, England

Only bigots and the overly medieval attitudes can be blamed for the rioting. The pageant should go ahead as a two fingers to those people who want to force their unwanted, so called "morality" on the rest of us.
Vish, UK

Of all the troubles that exist in Africa, a beauty contest is the least of its problems. Should it go ahead? Who cares? It's only a beauty contest.
Roger, UK

See also:

07 Dec 02 | England
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Talking Point stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Talking Point stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |