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Miss World

The most enduring image of the last Miss World pageant held in London 40 years ago is of angry feminists storming the venue and pelting the celebrity guests with eggs and rotten tomatoes.

Forty years on, the protest was more muted as Venezuela’s Ivian Sarcos, a 21-year-old human resource graduate and wannabe social activist, was crowned Miss World on Sunday amid the usual razzmatazz at a song-and-dance event here.

Wow! I’ll lay odds Sir Bruce Forsyth was at both. Some things never change.

A group of women gathered outside Earl’s Court in West London to protest against the “objectification” of the female body, They raised slogans and waved banners, one of which read “We’re not ugly, We’re not beautiful, We’re angry.” Another said “Miss World is the jewel in the crown of rape culture.

Emphasis mine.

Among them were some from the famous 1970 protest — now much mellowed but still angry that women should be judged by their looks alone.

Some things never change do they? I read somewhere recently that young women in Britain are more likely to have university degrees and on average earn more than their male counterparts. Indeed I believe Michael Gove or some such numpty was predicting dire but unspecified consequences from this. What amuses me about the Miss World protests – well there is quite a lot, but we’ll go with this first – is that I know a lot of women with professional jobs who are not judged on their looks in that sphere but in the context of a beauty pageant of course that’s what they’re judged on! Now Usain Bolt might, for example, tell extraordinarily witty anecdotes after dinner over the brandy and cigars but that’s not what Nike (or whoever) bung him cash for. Indeed I suspect Miss World herself wasn’t judged on her looks whilst doing her human resources degree. Whatever that is anyway. I’ve always found the staff of personnel departments to be selected for the job on the basis of their undiluted misanthropy.

But what really amuses me is it’s flogging a dead horse. Both ways. The whole beauty pageant and “I want to work with animals and children” schtick is tired beyond belief. As is the hyperbolic “feminist” attacks on the show. “Miss World is the jewel in the crown of rape culture.” recall. It is the unspeakable (and yes, they may well have been angry but they were also certainly ugly) protesting the irrelevant. If they can be utterly hyperbolic and stuck in the early ’70s being goosed by Sid James then I can regard them as such throwbacks. We live in a world which in many regions or cultures is profoundly sexist. There are forced marriages, bride burnings (if the dowry ain’t up to scratch – India, largely), female genital mutilation, lack of access to healthcare and education yet this collection of alleged feminists turns up to protest something that is almost quaint and moreover not broadcast on any UK TV channel and hasn’t been for years. It can apparently be viewed via the internet but really! I mean seeing as the internet is real pornography’s home objecting to Miss World seems to somewhat miss the point. Moreover I for one wouldn’t have known anything about the show if it hadn’t been for the protests – I had completely forgot the whole sorry spectacle still crawled on – in much the same way the BBC’s “Children in Need” telethon always ambushes me. Indeed the protests seemed quaint and from another era. Some things never change. It really was “Carry On Girls”. I’m thinking of getting into quaint protesting myself. Me, Manchester Town Hall, a placard and a megaphone and, “Repeal the Corn Laws Now!”

It’s like a few years back when the Afghan/Pakistan “tribal areas” were hit by an earthquake and everyone rallied round to help with the rescue and rebuilding (not that there was much in the first place to rebuild) there was an interview with a twinkly tribal elder. It quite stunned me. He said something like, “We are good Muslims so we welcome this help and will be most hospitable [good start - I said he was twinkly] but when they rebuild the primary school it must only teach what is needed which is the recitation of the Qu’ran and then only to boys otherwise we’ll kill the teachers and burn it down”. I think it was about that time that “nation building” in Afghanistan was a doomed enterprise. Or was it the point were some warlord abducted and kept a teenage girl as a sex-slave as a reprisal for the theft of the best fighting dog in the province? Or was it the cartoon in The Times around 2001 which riffed on the ‘Nam-era “bomb them back to the stone age” with “Bomb them forward into the renaissance”.

So, I dunno but I suspect. Almost every campaigning group I suspect if it doesn’t get disbanded at the right time drifts into bizarre pointlessness. Yes, there are many (I mentioned a few) feminist issues around the globe left to fight. Actually quite a lot but this self-parody does nothing to the purpose. One has to wonder why feminists still frequently attack “sexism” in the least sexist nations on the planet and the anglosphere nations and much of Europe certainly aren’t the “high value targets” they ought to go for. Why target an utter irrelevance like Miss World in London when Saudi Arabia has an active protest movement of women who just want to drive cars? I mean that is where the real fight surely is now? Not here. Feminism to a large extent won here and that’s a good thing. I mention the Saudi driving thing because… I first heard of it because a Saudi Prince set-up an airline and he was rather liberal and had a female pilot working for him. She had to be taxied to the airport where she’d get behind the yoke of a Boeing. The Saudis had thought to ban women driving but not flying 200 tonne airliners. Is that not utterly ridiculous?

I couldn’t join the RAF for pilot training and that had nothing to do with a womb but with a view. I suffer from astigmatism, short-sight and RG colour blindness. None of that is located in my pelvis. I mention this now because like good looks it is something outside of my control in much the same way some women (and indeed men) are better looking than others. Get over it sisters! Everyone else has. OK, not in the context of a hot date (but does not the looks criterion apply across the board – gay, straight, lesbian, whatever?) but you see a doctor or an accountant then looks don’t matter – not when one cures your illness or does something cunning with your tax-return. And is not good looks just the same, essentially random, stuff as my eyes keeping me from flying a Tiffy (undoubetdly there might be probs which would be other reasons for turning me down but that was an absolute “no”) in much the same way looking like a right hound prevents you being the face of Chanel? No, it ain’t fair but it’s life.

Life isn’t fair.

And it isn’t even feminist is it? I do not believe for a millisecond that men are less “objectified” than women. As I said I know quite few women with professional jobs. You ought to hear my wife and her sisters talk about George Clooney or Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt or Gabriel Byrne. If women are stereotyped and have to look a certain way to be attractive I would argue it’s even worse for the blokes. Yeah, actually it is. I mean I can go for the slyph-like “elven thing” and the voluptuous Marilyn thing also lights my wires. I guess I’m saying there is no stereotype for me when Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet both do it for me. Winslet because you just know she’d be right dirty. And if Halle Berry joins us in the hot-tub…

Note what I have done there. Without thinking too hard I have mentioned actors who are (a) about my age and (b) people I respect not just for their looks but their talent. That they are also good-looking is a bonus. I also have a thing for Helena Bonham-Carter and obviously for Uma Thurman.

So what am I playing at?

Well, obviously, looks are a factor (but not the whole nine yards). But so is brains. Why should one be like “OK” and the other “shallow” when neither are a choice? Indeed who defines “brains”. My wife is a professional linguist. I’m a linguistic dunce (The only Bs I got for GCSE were in French and German) but unlike her I can solve partial differential equations. She does gerunds and I did matrix mechanics. I have no idea what a gerund actually is. I can do covariant differentiation and Fourier analysis. Both of us could have a reasonable go at calling the other thick but we don’t. Everyone is different. I once dated a woman who could hardly be called physically gorgeous but that’s life and she was fun to be with. Life is like that. It is the deranged “pseudo feminist” harridans who don’t see that and not me. I can appreciate beauty and smarts and fortunately by and large I’ve managed both but I’m prepared to trade. Or in short I’m not as shallow as those protesters at Miss World who ridiculously see it as an either/or and think (know) that men always want their idea of a stereotypical beauty rather than anything else. They only think that because they don’t really know men or themselves.

19 Comments

  1. RAB says:

    Wayne Rooney said yesterday that he was fed up with the England team being judged only on their playing skills. It is so so Sportist!

  2. Tim Newman says:

    “I’ve always found the staff of personnel departments to be selected for the job on the basis of their undiluted misanthropy.”

    Selected? No, there is no selection or application involved, people *end up* in HR in much the same way as a turd finds its way into a septic tank.

  3. Talwin says:

    An interesting observation re our Brucie’s presence at these crumpet fests. For isn’t he still at it on a Saturday night attending upon female dancers wearing a bloody sight less, I bet, than ‘competitors’ in any Miss World contest. No wonder they can’t get rid of him.

    Incidentally, I think you may be unduly modest about your language skills. You may not know what a gerund is but congrats on being one of the few people in the universe who can differentiate between a criterion and criteria. That is, unless the missus gave your piece the once-over before publication.

  4. Lynne says:

    I’m all for equality. Why not have an embittered and jealous old bag pageant?

  5. Angry Exile says:

    For Christ’s sake, Nick. Get over the Cate Blanchett thing unless you like the idea of banging away while getting a lecture on the evils of carbon pollution. She’d probably scream Al Gore’s name as well.

  6. RAB says:

    Good idea Lynne…

    “Harriet is wearing a very fetching ensemble of denim dungarees, cherry red daisy root DMs and hair by Razor….”

    Brucie actually married a Miss World, if I remember rightly. perk of the judges see, you get to take the goods home.

    I love Women (as opposed to Wimmin) but I have always loathed Beauty Contests, well they’re just so naff and Hi Di Hi arn’t they?

  7. RAB says:

    In other news…

    Burlusconi compares himself to Mussolini and George Formby…

    ” oh I’m hanging from a lampost when a certain little lady walks by….”

  8. Ian B says:

    Never make the mistake of trying to engage with a Progressive argument at face value, that’s my catchphrase. I’ve said it all before and I’ll say it again, the Feminists are just the Ultra wing of the second wave (and now third wave) Puritan formation. As such, they just hate sexuality in any form, and the arguments they use are just whatever they can cobble together. It’s as simple as that. In “social” analysis terms, you have to remember that they aren’t “progressive” at all, they are ultra-conservative. Then it all makes sense.

    Conservatives may object to that characterisation, but it is worth remembering that some things only become bad when done in extreme. It is a good thing to wash your hands before preparing food. If you wash them twenty times and still feel dirty, you’ve got a problem. Likewise, there’s nothing implicitly wrong with sexual moderation. It’s taking it to excess that defines a lunatic.

    Conservative social values urge sexual restraint. The feminists are that group who took it to the extreme conclusion. They are the inheritors of a tradition that goes back through the likes of Jane Addams, and Josephine Butler, to the first Victorian- and first “feminist”- Hannah More, the miserable old bag of a paternalistic moralist. (Try reading The Shephered Of Salisbury Plain without tearing the book up in fury).

    Where the more socially moderate urged sexual moderation to within the marital bed, the extremists decided it had to be eradicated there too. Addams for instance described marital sex as a “noxious weed” that must be beheaded. From there, it’s an easy step to female separatism- as indeed practised by Addams[1]- to the faux-lesbianism rolled out as a more hip-sounding justification in the late 1960s.

    So that’s what this boils down to. They are simply a bunch of Victorian matrons who want women very high up on a pedestal, but one on which nobody can see up their skirts.

    This is why I disagree with the analysis that feminism and many other lefist movements are cultural marxist movements as defined by the likes of Buchanan and Lind. The CMH is a conservative hypothesis, and as such has a blind spot recognising “conservative” extremism, forced instead to posit an outside force to explain the social change since the 1960s and, particularly, that such groups as Feminism are tearing apart the family because a socially weakened society can be more easily subverted to communism. While there are no doubt some actual communists who see things that way, the majority of the Feminist theorists are doing it the other way around- Marxist justifications are used to support the core idea of simple separating the sexes to end their most hated human behaviour- penile penetration of the vagina. The eradication of the sexual- including marriage, which they perceive as a sexual contract that legitimises the rape of women (since no woman in her right mind would really enjoy being violated by a penis)- is the end in itself. All sex is rape [2] all all sexual arousal (however minor, such as merely looking at a pretty girl) is a precursor to that rape; rape thus defines the male entirely, and “victim of rape” defines the female entirely. In feminist theory there is no other level of gender interaction.

    Before I stop boring everyone, it is worth mentioning the curious pause in feminism between the First and Second waves. Second Wave Feminism is characterised in the Whiggish histories as a reaction against social conservatism. In fact, during the most conservative era of the twentieth century (the period up to the 1950s white picket fence era) there was no feminism at all. After the First Wave, kicked off in the Victorian Era of pedestalisation, reaching a fever pitch in the Progressive Era, they had achieved all they wanted to- strict social controls on pleasure in general (drink, drugs, gambling, lewd displays, prostitution, media etc) and had nothing left to do, hence the quiessence of the Movement. It only rises again like a zombie from the grave when the socially liberal 60s era arrives and, amid a flurry of new liberalisms, reliable contraception allows women to have sexual choice and the chance to sleep around, thus tearing down the stockade around womens’ behaviour that the First Wave had emplaced so carefully over the previous century. It’s a reaction against social liberalism, not social conservatism.

    [1] I should add that modern Progressivism and particularly Feminism is predominantly an American phenomenon, so it’s the Americans we should be more interested in historically.

    [2] This slogan has an interesting provenance. It’s been attributed to various feminists e.g. Dworkin. Though they do believe it, none of them has actually specifically written that sentence anywhere. It was actually a slogan on feminist tee-shirts at, you guessed it, Berkeley, in the early 70s.

  9. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    I don’t care for the whole spectrum from beauty contests to lap dancing bars, but if people want to do it and others want to view, c’est la vie.

    As to the ‘wimmin’ when I see one of ‘em, just one you could get really hot for, objecting then I might be able to get past what motivates most of ‘em. Pure and simple sixth form jealousy.

    As Ayn Rand observed “It is not the value they desire, it is the value’s destruction”

  10. NickM says:

    Ian,
    “Never make the mistake of trying to engage with a Progressive argument at face value, that’s my catchphrase.”

    You then go through the whole thing at several paragraphs length speaking not in “Nick talk” but in the phraseology of pure “sociology talk”. I really have no idea what you are on about. Yes, there are “feminists” (note the scare quotes) who regard “Dickism” (as Arooo calls it) as a problem but let’s face it Ian I can think of 7 billion reasons why an awful lot of women like a suitably chosen penis in their vagina. Essentially it’s a bust flush. It can’t be taken seriously except that’s what you did by discussing it on their terms rather going “Ah fuck off already”. Hell’s teeth Ian we’ve had Madonna et al scampering about in their skimpies for like 30 years. Almost my entire life (and I’m 38) has been lived post-feminist. To a very large extent the battle has been fought and won as indeed was the one against racism. That was the point of my post. Both Miss World and protests against it are stunningly anachronistic to me.

  11. Ian B says:

    ” I really have no idea what you are on about.”

    Well I can’t help you any further with that then, Nick. I am trying to analyse what is actually going on in our society, and if you can’t be arsed to engage with that, fair enough, but there’s not much point writing about Feminism if you aren’t prepared to study it. I mean come on,

    Yes, there are “feminists” (note the scare quotes) who regard “Dickism” (as Arooo calls it) as a problem but let’s face it Ian I can think of 7 billion reasons why an awful lot of women like a suitably chosen penis in their vagina.

    -that sentence doesn’t even make logical sense. The first part doesn’t address the second part.

    What’s the point, I mean really, what’s the fucking point of all this typing? I can’t speak in “Nick Talk”, it’d be like trying to discuss Physics in the style of Barney The Purple Dinosaur.

  12. Ian B says:

    Look, sorry, bit rude there. But I’ll try and condense that down a bit. The point is that your “anachronism” is alive and well and currently resurgent. The Suffragettes are back, in all their terrible majesty and flowery hats, and we need to engage with that. You can’t even begin to understand what is going on unless you start actually looking at what they mean by their now-hegemonic narratives of e.g. objectification. This isn’t a few geriatric nutters you can dismiss. If you think it is, it’s like you’ve missed the rest of the past 40 years. Take this that came up today–

    http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/article/TMG8876913/Dakota-Fannings-Oh-Lola-advert-for-Marc-Jacobs-is-banned.html

    –do you see what’s going on?

  13. NickM says:

    Ian.,
    I like your stuff a lot but you are contrarian as hell. You say the suffragettes are back but essentially they achieved the vote years and years before my mother was born. I keep on saying this here but it’s all over. It’s history Ian, history. And I quite frankly have never had any hassle from feminists. I have slept with women who regard themselves as such but your parody of feminism is ridiculous. There are many threats to our freedom but this is not one. Up to a point we have the Hattie Harmans who would put you in jail but the vast majority of women aren’t like that at all. Indeed mostly of the ones I’ve known intimately they had no issue whatsoever with porn or foxy ads. Indeed some of them have liked such stuff as much as I have. And that sentence of mine makes total sense. Essentially I was saying that whilst there are feminist nutjobs (like there are conservative or Marxist or Islamist or Mormon nutjobs) they are a serious minority. Extreme views such as “all het sex is rape” are incredibly few and far between.

  14. Ian B says:

    Nick, you’re apparently deliberately confusing the general class of all women with the specific class of Feminists, which seems to me to be akin to trying to win an argument by confusing “all Germans” with “Nazis”. So, I say, “feminists this” and then you say, “women aren’t like that”.

    Look, there are a set of core movements to the Enemy, whatever you want to call it. Feminism is one, nature romanticism is another. And so on. Now you might want to pretend that they’re all harmless, maybe a few cranks, but some of us out here are more interested in actually stopping them. Like, a few nature cranks in government can shut down an economy. These people are not harmless.

    One key point is this; it’s all about leaders. It doesn’t matter what the majority of the population think, what decides policy is a matter for a small class of key decision makers and opinion formers. If they are driven by a dangerous fascistic ideology like Greenism, or Feminism, that’s what gets done. So I have to reiterate; what you think women in general may or may not think doesn’t matter. We’re looking here at the key figures in a movement, because they are the power wielders; in the same way as, to continue the analogy, with the Green movement. You know full well that a handful of activists and scientists have wrought the whole AGW business.

    History isn’t over. We’re still living in it. The processes in our society need to be understood; where they came from, why they are what they are. You can say “history is over” until a bomb blows you to bits because it isn’t over for somebody else who wants another Caliphate or a united Ireland. And while history was busy being “over”, that “anachronistic” Feminist movement was turning us into a society where people can’t talk to a child for fear of being called paedophiles.

    And, the Sufragettes? They didn’t achieve the vote. Mainstream historians recognise that. They were the provisional wing of the social purity movement, who only sought the vote because they figured women would be more likely to vote for social purity laws and special treatment for women only. They were violent, they’d be called terrorists today, they set bombs and fires, launched physical attacks. They were predominantly a bunch of psychopaths in ridiculous hats. And they didn’t get your mum the vote.

  15. Kendall says:

    I think I’ve only encountered one radical feminist type in the real world, but for such a minority movement it’s amazing how successfully they’ve pushed their ideology. Somehow, for some reason, these walking parodies of feminism seem to be taken seriously in politics and academia.

    Look at things like the feminist involvement in the ritual child abuse or human trafficking moral panics and it’s hard to see them as a few harmless loonies. Children were snatched from their parents and people are in prison right now because of their ideology’s influence on the state.

    Look at some of the gender related legislation in places like Sweden and Iceland and you’ll find oddball radical feminist jargon and dogma embedded in their laws. In the UK there are clear cases of dodgy statistics from groups like Object and the Fawcett Society influencing government policy.

    To me feminism’s lunatic fringe looks like a pretty powerful lobby, especially in Europe and the UK. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them as no real threat to individual freedom.

  16. The Apiarist says:

    “Wow! I’ll lay odds Sir Bruce Forsyth was at both. “

    No, it was Bob Hope compering the famous Miss World that erupted into a flour and eggs chucking contest. I was watching it on TV in Lisburn when it all kicked off. Bob retreated rapidly and the broadcast was interrupted for a while until security ejected the harpies.

    When he came back on stage Bob got a round of applause for his comment (and I paraphrase) “Anyone who would spoil a beautiful thing like this must be on some kind of dope.” He also got a laugh when he said he thought for a minute he was back in Vietnam. (I guess his scriptwriters had been busy during the break.)

    “. . . that had nothing to do with a womb but with a view.”

    I hope you blushed when you wrote that!

  17. Mr Ecks says:

    Ian B is right Nick –you are confusing all women with the small and dangerous group of wimmin Ian writes about. They are sub-division of socialism and enjoy that wicked movements penetraition (no pun intended) of the corridors of power. I also agree with Ian that it is more likely their hatred of men/sex that drives them than marxism–that poison ideology is just a means to an end for them, something they can use.

    Go take a look at some of the men’s rights sites. Read about the shit that is being pulled every day by the sisterhood (a small eg:reducing to nearly nothing the “evidence” needed to “prove” that male students at US colleges have commited rape/sexual assault–one of many feminazi attacks on men).

    When I take the dog for a walk I try to go at a time when all the kids in nearby schools will be inside (almost all the routes to walk the dog near my home have poxy schools on them). A solitary middle aged man walking a cute puppy (that is very friendly and jumps up towards anybody she meets) is well advised to keep away from kids of any type. The same with occassional visits to the pictures–I try to go at a time there is least likely to be any kids in there. In the old days a noisy troublesome kid, running around with no concern with spoiling the show could be told to sit down and shut up. Now all some malicious little bastard would have to do is tell an usher that “that man tried to touch me” and that would pretty much destroy the rest of your life. Years of agitation from scum like the NSPCC, with their endless campaigns to demonise men with DV and pedophillia, have brought about a state of affairs such that a man can be destroyed by a single unsupported alegation.

    These wimmin are dangerous Nick and the battle against them is hardly begun.

  18. Paul Marks says:

    I came upon the show by chance – it was on “E – Entertainment” and I was just looking at all the stations (to see what was on) and there was “Miss World”.

    It was the 60 anniversary edition – and yet virtually unreported.

    There were some P.C. elements – such as the grandson of Nelson Mandela appearing to read out a message from the former President of South Aftrica (for no clear reason).

    Our culture (by “our” I really mean the Frankfurt School cultural Marxism culture – pushed by the universities and the BBC) does seem to have pushed out Miss World (as it did the Black and White Minstrel Show). The show was not on the BBC or ITV or Sky – off to he obscure E. Entertainment (well better than being formally banned I suppose).

    Anything that is racist, sexist or homophobic is, de facto, not allowed – in the sense of being pushed off the mainstream stations and so on (the bastards even got Benny Hill – and a more inoffensive man would be hard to think of).

    And as Western culture (by the definitions of the elite) is racist, sexist and homophobic – that basically means Western culture is not allowed.

    As for Miss Venezuela…..

    Not a bad choice.

    An attractive young lady – and daring.

    Formal dress up at the front (to show her legs) – and, for the national dance section, the lady dressed up as a jaguar and growled round a bit.

    One element of the show was the rising power of China.

    One of the two presenters was Chinese – and the show is off to Inner Mongolia next year.

    No I am not making the last bit up.

    As for power……

    Well we see how much power they have – the David Axelrod organized smear campaign against Herman Caine will show us if this get-some-women (one of whom actually lives in the same building as Axelrod and another works for his boss Obama) to make charges against someone they once met and…….

    For example why do these “wimmin” not campaign against the child rape culture of Muslim gangs? Oh I forgot – that would be “racist” (even though Islam is not a race) and “racism” trumps “sexism” in the P.C. order of ranks.

    At least unless the person is a conservative – for example Herman Caine is a conservative, so he is not black (as far as the “mainstream” media and so on are concerned).

    Oh wel this whole culture (the P.C. culture) is going to collapse soon anyway – although it may be replaced with something more nasty.

  19. Paul Marks says:

    Oh yes – Bruce was there.

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