Indonesian Hardliners Step Up Opposition VS Miss World Beauty Pageant

Security is going to be a huge concern when the Miss World 2013 beauty pageant kicks off in Indonesia this September.

Just yesterday, a human rights commissioner released a statement saying Indonesia should protect its youth from being “poisoned” by foreign influences.

Commissioner Manegar Nasution of the National Human Rights Commission says, “We should not put women’s bodies on display like a storefront, as if they are nothing but a commercial product.”

This even after the Miss World organization scrapped the Bikini Beauty fast track and instead opted for a traditional sarong competition.

Religious hardliners in Indonesia have been successful at getting events such as Lady Gaga’s 2012 concert cancelled. Will they be successful at forcing Miss World to relocate? It seems unlikely with the pageant starting on September 8, 2013, which is a little over a week from this posting.

ABQ can’t help but worry about the safety of contestants specially our own representative, Miss World Philippines Megan Young.

Oddly enough, bikini-clad tourists are a common sight on Bali where most of the pageant will be held. It has never been a problem with island locals.

With increasing rhetoric from hardliners, Bali police are securing the island and contestants by deploying a thousand officers. Will that be enough to keep everyone safe? Even more worrisome, the coronation on September 28 won’t be held on Bali; it will be held in a venue on the outskirts of Jakarta where hardliners have a strong presence.

But pageant lovers do have one defender. Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika has stepped up saying, “organizers have already committed to dropping the bikini contest this year. They have also committed to obeying the ethics, morals and norms here. There is no reason to stop it.”

Governor Pastika adds that he is looking forward to the worldwide tv coverage and tourism boost with contestants and their parties from 131 countries arriving plus over 5,000 journalists who will attend.

My question is this: should international pageants stop holding its contests in nations where the girls’ safety could be compromised?

Read more about this story on Rappler.