ORGANISERS of the annual Miss World pageant have announced plans to eliminate the swimsuit segment of the competition, citing lack of purpose as the reason.
“The organisation has decided to take itself out of the swimsuit world because it isn’t the path they’re trying to take,” said Chris Wilmer, the national director of Miss World America/Miss United States organisation. “It’s not just a beauty contest, it’s beauty with a purpose. There didn’t seem to be a purpose to have the swimsuit.”
Miss World – which is the oldest international beauty pageant – was originally called the Festival Bikini Contest and was established in England in 1951 by Eric Morley, who wanted to lift spirits following the end of Second World War. The bikini was replaced with a more modest swimsuit after the contest drew complaints, and the segment of the show has existed ever since. However, Wilmer is keen that, in the future, the pageant shouldn’t just be based on appearance.
“Miss World should be a spokesperson who can help a community. She’s more of an ambassador, not a beauty queen,” Wilmer continued, reports The Washington Post. “It’s more about the outreach and what a woman could do with a title like Miss World.”
The decision by Wilmer and his colleagues comes at a time when the traditional beauty pageant and the exposure of the female form are much-discussed topics. The recent Victoria’s Secret show in London resulted in ample column inches debating the feminist issues underlining the extravaganza, while many stars have made public their support for the Free The Nipple campaign, an equality initiative that stands against the illegality of topless women.