While I consider myself a feminist I have been known to ogle magazine spreads and runway shows featuring models wearing, admittedly, not very much. But somehow, the treatment of the 32 women vying to become Miss Universe Australia on Thursday night made me incredibly uncomfortable. The opening number featured the women parading and dancing awkwardly in one-piece swimsuits to music. But being judged for it is a different matter. If Miss Universe's aim is to provide "a platform for the country's most beautiful, talented, educated and confident young women", is it necessary to include not one but two segments where they are judged practically nude? Clearly I'm not the first person to question the legitimacy of a bikini contest in Still, seeing it in real life brought the absurdity of it and the need for change into sharper focus. And it doesn't do anything for any of us". Why then does Miss Universe insist on continuing this retrograde segment that adds little except the crass wolf whistles from the arguably mostly male spectators?
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The judges are on a quest for women who shine when nude, ultimately looking to crown just one Miss Nude Australia. For the 18th year in succession, Madame Josephine, drag artiste and lipstick-clad host, will announce the competitors to a full house at The Crazy Horse Revue nightclub in Adelaide. The girls strut their stuff along the runway using everything at their disposal; a flamboyant or cheeky outfit to slowly peel away, a pair of dancing poles for minor acrobats and, of course, their perfectly-sculpted physiques. In a modern society based on sexual equality, this competition seems out of place, sexist and sleazy. But in recent years, the competition has flourished, with a constant flow of young and beautiful girls, keen to compete for the prize of Miss Nude Australia. These ladies enter the Pageant with all the seriousness of a fully clothed Miss Universe title. Best Undressed follows, with humour and without judgement, the spectacle that is Miss Nude Australia; an event that brings its competitors together and challenges their resolve, self esteem and creativity, as they embark on a quest for an unusual kind of fame.
From America's Favorite Pre-Teen to Miss Nude World, America offers a plethora of beauty contests and competitions for females, and the occasional male, to be crowned a beauty queen. In American Beauty, Lois Banner suggests that beauty queens illustrate the American ideals of social mobility and democracy: anyone can be a pageant winner and better herself, since anyone can enter a contest. Additionally, there is always another chance to win because new queens are crowned every year. Beauty queens are chosen for every conceivable reason. Their role is to represent pageant sponsors as an icon and a spokesperson. America, and Miss World, among others. While the best known contests are for young women, there are competitions for almost everyone from grandmothers to babies. Specialized contests include Ms. Although not as numerous, men's contests garner entrants of different ages also. Males can choose from the conventional masculine contests like the International Prince Pageant or drag contests such as Miss Camp America.