6:30pm Monday 20 July 2009, Hilton, 225 Edgeware Road, London UK
Called by Mind the Gap: London Student Feminists.
- JUDITH ORR- author of ‘Sexism and the System’
- ALEX CALLINICOS- Author and professor from Kings College
- LIV BAILEY- NUS Women’s Officer
40 years ago feminist activists succeeded in banning the Miss World contest. In celebration of this eminent anniversary, we will ban it again and invite you to join us in the struggle.
The 2009 Miss England claims to be ‘Myth Busting’ including degree students, war veterans and sports women. It also supports B-eat and eating disorders charity and claims to have ‘no size zeros’. Yet, whatever shape, size, ethnicity, and occupation the contestants are, the competition still remains a beauty contest; promoting the judgment of women according to set parameters. Whether they are an Iraq veteran, or a clinical psychologist, upon that platform their worth is reduced to a vacuous stereotype.
We see the resurgence of beauty pageants as indicative of a backlash against the fragile gains that feminism has won. In a society where one out of every two women will experience violence and 75% of people living in poverty are women, challenging the objectification of women is becoming widely recognised as attacking the roots of gender subordination in wider society. OBJECT sees the objectification of women as seen in advertising, lads mags, strip clubs, and beauty pageants as promoting the dehumanisation of women, that leads them to be seen as subordinate in society, encouraging and legitimising exploitation and violence. See OBJECTs website for more info, evidence and how you can take action.
DISCRIMINATION AND WELFARE
The notion of beauty attached to the image promoted by beauty pageants is discriminatory according to gender, sexuality, age, race, and disability. In a society where we are bombarded with commercial images, trying to uglify us into buy into this notion of beauty, it is almost impossible not to judge oneself and each other according to these ideals. Whether we choose to accept or reject them we are left chasing what is essentially a mirage of digitally touched up perfection, creating body disphormia that leads to eating disorders, depression, and pits women against one another in life, not just on a platform.
Only one woman can win a crown, pageants divide rather unite us, preventing us from demanding our rights and freedoms.
- Mind the Gap: http://londonstudentfeminists.blogspot.com/ (flier)
- Object: http://object.org.uk/index.php/campaigns/beauty-pageants (includes useful FAQs and factsheet)