Protesters Storm Pageant
3 October 1999
For immediate release
12 women and men stormed yesterday's Miss Otago Pageant, calling for an end to all beauty pageants and temporarily stopping the performance.
Protesters threw two beef carcasses onto the stage during the evening wear display and chained a third to the podium. Women upstairs simultaneously hung a banner saying "Women Are Not Meat".
"The pageant reinforces a disgusting and outdated culture of men rating single, available women on their looks, " said Rachel Carrell, spokesperson.
"Pageants are part of a beauty industry which creates and then exploits insecurity.
"The contestants represent an unhealthy ideal. The ideal is thin, tanned and has completely contradictory proportions -- long legs, slim waist, yet big breasts. Most women will never be able to look like that.
"We have an epidemic of eating disorders, skin cancers and women who need cosmetic surgery and implants to feel good enough. It's a deadly beauty culture and it's growing more dangerous every year."
Ms Carrell noted the American study announced by the New Zealand Heart Foundation recently in which up to 42% of six year old girls wanted to be thinner.
While Ms Carrell said removing the swimsuit section of the pageant was good, she noted that it was still included in the private judging component the week before the pageant.
"Public force has made the organisers make some concessions. But it's not enough."
The protesters demanded that this be the last Miss Otago pageant. "They can't get away with it in centres like Wellington. Public opinion is too strongly against it. We've protested at Miss New Zealand and Miss Otago for two years now and we'll get more and more insistent until these stop."
For more information, contact:
Rachel Carrell 03 4790915 (home) 021 2545391 (cell)
For information about
footage of the action, contact Dunedin's Channel Nine