Swimsuit rounds in beauty pageants have long been criticized for focusing too much on women’s bodies, but this year’s Miss Earth has put an exclamation point on that by covering contestants’ faces altogether.
During the Miss Earth 2017 “figure and form” round at the Century Park Hotel in Manila on Wednesday, contestants from around the world were made to wear swimsuits and white lace veils that covered their faces.
This may seem odd, even to those who follow the pageant circuit, but this is not the first time Miss Earth had its contestants wear veils.
In June, Miss Philippines Earth, the competition that selects the Philippines’ candidate for the international pageant caused a backlash when it had contestants wear black veils during the “figure and form” preliminary round.
Many thought that it promoted the objectification of women. Can’t imagine why.
“Unfortunately, this gimmick objectified women by emphasizing to the viewing public to simply look at the body of the candidate,” Facebook user Winona Thomas said in June. “It was totally degrading to women. It disregarded the women’s confidence and their personalities, as they couldn’t interact with the audience and the camera.”
In a Facebook statement posted in June, Miss Philippines Earth addressed their decision to use the veils and said: “The transparent veil served a double purpose — first, to place emphasis on the figure and form of the candidate, which was the criteria of focus for that specific portion, and second to introduce the girls with dramatic flair since it was the first in our series of prejudging.”
They also said that using a veil counters the “inherent biases” of judges and promotes impartiality. Yes, we’d hate for them to accidentally give a contestant points for something other than the way their body looks in a bikini.
Both Miss Philippines Earth and Miss Earth are organized by Manila-based Carousel Productions.
What do you think? Does this objectify women even more or is it just a clever — and refreshingly honest — way to level the playing field? Let us know in the comments below.