Monday, April 21, 2008

Photo Essay: I love beauty parades

Yes, Sir. I do love them. I was in sunny Bangalore when the whole hoo haa about the Miss World beauty pageant blew up in 1996. Well, I have to thank Ganesh, Imhotep, Confucius, Zeus and the great Pasta God aka Great Flying Spaghetti Monster with meat balls in the sky, that I stayed in the same hotel as those lovely ladies and my eyes were almost perpetually on stalks. So while it was young spotty hormone driven time way back then, now I have moved on (I think).

I know all the very well known arguments against female beauty parades.  Here's a great article by Choodie Shivaram on this issue and I am taking the liberty to quote few lines from her article.

""demeaning to our culture," "devaluing to our tradition," "promoting vulgarity and obscenity," and "a disgrace to womanhood." ...... Communists deplored the event as capitalist exploitation of women and part of the multi-national corporations' carefully planned plundering of India. Women's groups found the event degrading to women.

Quite so, but at the same time, hey, I am an observer and while at the same time, I can slightly see the objections, I also am an appreciative  lover of human beauty. Take this joke "photoshopped" picture for example on the left while the real David is on the right


I am sure Michelangelo would be rolling in his grave but that's not beautiful to me even though it is just a plump version of his David. And irrespective of which statue you like, you do know that one arm of that statue is broken and then repaired? You still like and admire that statue, no? A disabled statue, so to speak.

So then I read the news that now Cambodia will play host to Miss Landmine 2009. I quote:

Miss Landmine parades beautiful female landmine victim amputees on the catwalk as they compete to win prosthetic limbs....

See this line?

the pageant has drawn howls of protest from rights activists and feminists, who brand it colonialist, racist, sexist and exploitative.

Sounds familiar? But go back to the woman. Since I have started working in London (many decades now), I have known many colleagues who have lost their breasts after a mastectomy.  And one thing was common on every piece of advice and gossip and reading and research and talking about  it, that it is not the loss of the breast(s) or the surgery itself that hurts the most, it is the fear that they will no longer be attractive.

And spare me the gumpf about how sexist it is. Everybody likes to look good and feel appreciated, nothing wrong in that. While I am not so sure about the fact that the contestants have to compete to get prosthetic limbs (give it to them, that's what a public health service is all about), but generally, the idea of a disabled beauty pageant is not bad at all. And I am not even touching the topic of landmines at all (but promise to do so later on).

Still, here are women, who due to no fault of their own, no longer have all their limbs. Still for a wrong purpose, they are going to show off their beauty, something like this. Beautiful girls, the fact that they are in a wheelchair is incidental. They still look beautiful and attractive.

I am going to get slated for this, but hey, here goes nothing. Here are some photographs of women who I would find attractive.


Both have a lovely smiles, twinkling eyes and that shows a very attractive persona.

How about this debate about the disabled pregnant woman statue in London's Trafalgar Square?

The statue on the left is said to be the personification of Venus de Milo in the Louvre. So if you can admire the right hand side, can't you admire the left hand side? Once you have seen that, read the story about the real life woman behind the statue.

Now see this real life photograph of a disabled naked woman which resembles the two statues above. Attractive? Beautiful? Wonderful? Sexy? Adorable? Lovely? Cuddly? All these and more. Nothing wrong with it at all.










Would I wolf whistle at these beauty pageant contestants shown below? Yes, Sir, I sure would.

Below is a photograph of a lady who won one of these pageants. You go girl, and she is damn attractive. She is beautiful and wonderful, and the loss of a limb does not take anything away from her. Her eyes display a determination and a love of life seldom found these days.


And there is a swimsuit competition as well as. And yes, I am sexist in saying that I find these women attractive too. So yes, I do love these pageants. I find these women attractive, and yes, even if they are disabled (and no, I do not suffer from apotemnophilia), they are beautiful because beauty is not just the presence or absence of some limbs but is in the eye of the beholder.

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