Feminists Challenge Miss Iceland

by Karin on July 27, 2013 · 1 comment

It is interesting to read about what causes feminists take on around the world.  The Wall Street Journal reports that some feminists in Iceland are challenging the Miss Iceland contest:
REYKJAVIK, Iceland—In early July, eight women wearing sweaters began their week by filing into a sunlit meeting room in Iceland's cozy capital to hatch a scheme. The objective: Put Miss Iceland to death. The women, including a 48-year-old pastor and an author in her early 30s, don't actually want to harm the reigning 5-foot-9 beauty queen crowned in 2011. Instead, they dream of ending a competition that has endured for nearly half a century and helped put this Nordic island nation of 315,000 people on the map. "Our goal must be to kill it," Asa Richardsdottir, 49-year-old producer in the fine arts industry, said between sips of coffee. Matthildur Helgadottir-Jonudottir, an event manager also in her 40s, nodded in agreement. "Yes," she said in a loud voice. As a form of protest, the eight women applied to enter the beauty contest. Following years of hullabaloo over whether the small country actually needs beauty contests, feminists are freshly emboldened because scores of Icelanders who don't exactly fit the beauty queen mold signed up for the 2013 event slated for September, generating a wave of local media attention.
What do you think about beauty contests?  Read the rest of the article here.

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YvonneNeuland August 1, 2013 at 7:48 am

My opinion on these contests is contingent upon the age group of the contest.

Beauty contests for young children, in my opinion, are inappropriate. Dressing up toddler’s to look like Barbie dolls and pressuring them to win sends the child the message that personal appearance is of central importance for measuring a person’s value. I think it is potentially psychologically damaging to the children, particularly if the parent reacts badly if the child loses.

If the participants are adults, as they are in the particular contest the article is covering, then I think they are fine. People have different value systems, and if the contestants are old enough to decide for themselves what their opinion is, that is their right. Every human being has their own strengths and weaknesses, and if personal appearance is a strength of an individual it is not fair to bar them from participating. The women in the article claimed they were acting out of a desire to end the objectification of women, but most of the quoted statements about their actions expressed pride about “women who looked like them” possibly ending up the winner and gleeful anticipation about upsetting people by forcing them look at women of” less than ideal” physique. This indicated to me that their real motivation had more to do with being unhappy about their own personal characteristics and a desire to punish women who were luckier in the genetic lottery pool

Physical appearance should not be the primary measure value for judging other people, but working to sabotage the Ms. Iceland contest in order to prevent people from being able to participate seems more like a petty expression of jealousy than a belief in a morally just cause.

I believe that everyone has a right to their own opinion, including the woman sabotaging the contest. If you truly feel strongly about an issue and want to persuade others to agree with you, however, you should use a positive approach that inspires people. Spiteful, bad-spirited approaches like the one they are using do not persuade anyone who does not already share your opinion to change their minds on the issue. It may persuade them, however, that you are too hateful to objectively consider the issue, thereby invalidating your arguments and closing their minds to ever considering your position at all.

Forcing someone to submit to your opinions through sabotage and coercion is tyranny. You cannot enhance women’s rights by removing her right to decide her own opinions. So, regardless of the potential moral issues involved with beauty contests, these women’s actions hurt rather than help, and diminish women’s rights.


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