Yesterday, the Miss Earth 2017 contestants competed in the pageant’s “Figure and Form” competition and caused quite a stir with pageant girls across the planet. The competition featured the contestants in bathing suits with veiled faces. Does this objectify the young women competing for the coveted Miss Earth crown?
About the competition
Yesterday, Miss Earth 2017’s Figure and Form competition was held at the Century Park Hotel in Manila, Philippines. The competition was held as a private event, which means that tickets for the public were not available for this phase of competition but the competition could be watched live on Facebook. The competition differs from the swimsuit competition in one major way: face veils.
The swimsuit competition is a public event where the contestants strut in their swimsuits with confidence, donning whatever styling they deem appropriate. The Figure and Form competition also features the contestants in swimwear, however, they are required to wear face veils and red lipstick for the competition. According to organizers, the purpose of the face veils is to allow the judges to focus on the “figure and form” of the contestants, the theme of this competition. (Read: Miss Earth Rwanda 2017 Refuses to Wear Swimsuit)
This competition is a part of the preliminary scoring that will ultimately decide who will make the round of cuts in the final night of competition.
About the public response to the face veils
There were mixed responses to the veiled faces on the Miss Earth contestants. Some members of the public believe that this is actually a good or interesting thing for the organization to do. A few have pointed out the need to judge a person’s body language because of how much body language can convey. There is an argument that the contestants must be well-rounded, including what they may convey with their body language.
Other commenters were not so supportive of the decision to veil the contestants’ faces. Some said that fitness should focus on the contestant’s health and confidence as a whole, not the woman’s body only. The face veils make a contestant into an emotionless, faceless being according to one commenter. (Read: How Pageantry Has Changed to be More than Just Outer Beauty)
About the contestant response to the face veils
Most titleholders have not commented on their thoughts of the veiled faces. Others proudly posted their photos from the Figure and Form competition. Miss Earth Japan posted to Instagram, “Everyone was judged equally with the same bathing suit…” Miss Earth United States also posted her photos from the competition to her Instagram page.
Miss Earth Indonesia also posted and said, “However, as I was in the holding room watching all the other gorgeous girls, I realized why this veil was put on. We each individually have our own insecurities and flaws. That is something normal and inevitable. We tried hiding stretch marks and scars, but really, it is like removing the paper lines from paper – you simply can’t because it is already a part of you. So what was important was our confidence and how we embrace this body of ours. Our body language speaks more of our confidence than our faces do, which is why our faces were covered.”
About the pageant organizers’ response
Pageant organizers anticipated the public backlash. After the Miss Earth Philippines pageant, during which the contestants also wore face veils for competition, the Miss Earth Organization released a statement that said, “More often than not when you go out of the norm, there will always be questions and negativity. This is expected.” (Read: Veiled Faces During the Miss Earth Philippines Swimsuit Competition)
The Miss Earth Organization fervently denies that the contestants are being objectified by saying, “We honestly do not believe that the girls were objectified or that they felt objectified, remember we are working with millennials. They speak their mind and will no way allow themselves to be put on the negative side.”
What do you think? Are the face veils objectifying the contestants? Let us know below!
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