Henry's Songbook

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One Thin Swimsuit

  • (John McCutcheon)

    As long as I remember
    Every year about September
    The nations watch from sea to sea
    Miss Universe upon T.V.
    Like cattle at a county fair
    We feast our eyes with hungry stare
    Until at last the one is found
    To wear our fantasies, and crowned

    Flesh merchants own the magazines
    The billboards and the T.V. screens
    Pornographers in every guise
    The bad one sells but the worse one buys
    And one thin swimsuit stands between
    The porno star and the beauty queen

    (as sung by Iain MacKintosh)

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1997:] The first [beauty contest] was held in 1888 in the Belgium [sic!] resort of Spa. (Marianne MacDonald, Observer, 2 Nov)

  • [1998:] Ten years after it was dropped by TV, Miss World is back. [...] In the run-in to Thursday's beauty pageant - to be screened on British terrestrial TV for the first time in 10 years - [...] James Michel, Vice-President of the Seychelles, which is hosting Miss World, is on board the 'Beauty Boeing' along with the 86 contestants - plus chaperones - and their respective local children. Each contestant has 'adopted' a child for the day, to be embraced whenever the cameras call for it. [...] For three weeks, the women visit scenic backdrops - used for inserts in the TV broadcast - work on their tans, and imbibe, in the words of Miss World chairman Eric Morley, the event's 'one big happy family' ethos. [...]

    'We can change many things, but we can't change the girls,' says Julie Clive, producer of the Miss World TV show, who is charged with revamping the event. [...] Miss World is one of C5's most costly projects. In the revamp, out go swim-suits on stage, in come backstage shots without make-up, while old roué judges give way to the likes of racing driver Jacques Villeneuve and rugby star Jonah Lomu. [...]

    In 1988 Thames TV decided not to renew its option on Miss World. It had previously been shown for nearly 30 years on the BBC, with audiences of 26 million in the Seventies [...]. It has since gone out on UK satellite outlets, but without the fanfare, or the figures. Viewing figures began to drop in the Eighties but the real reason for the banishment was 'TV executive snobbery', says Eric Morley, who devised the contest 48 years ago and still holds the licence. [...] The first 38 contests were held in Britain. But, after his snub from British TV, Morley decided to travel the world. While the West turned its back - in the last decade, America, Canada, Germany, France have been as reluctant as the UK to take the show - others were happy to welcome the contest. [They] saw it as a chance to enhance their image. Citizens of host nations did not always follow this line. There were violent protests against Miss World in India in 1996, one protester setting fire to himself. [...] 'Obviously it's a sexist event', says Julie Clive. 'But do we care any more?' [...]

    In the UK, Miss World is now deemed too innocuous to be a feminist issue - though Morley does his best to make it one. [...] 'We like our girls to be beautiful; there's no need for serious talk. There's enough trouble in the world.' [...] One of the team lets slip that some of the more provocatively dressed contestants are unlikely to win. The winner should be a model of innocence. (Robert Yates, Observer, 22 Nov)

  • [2001:] Julia Morley, widow of Miss World creator Eric Morley, has branded the beauty pageant she now heads as 'stupid' and 'awful'. She is reinventing the competition to make it 'more positive' for women. [...] the former model condemns the infamous 'swimsuit' parade, in which contestants walk around the stage in sparkling bikinis before being interviewed by the show's presenter. […]

    Five months after her husband's death, Julia Morley, who started working behind the scenes at Miss World in 1969, has taken full control of the organisation. She is stepping out from behind the glitter to reinvent it. The new Miss World will be more respectful to the contestants and more positive. 'We've got a new concept for the show and we're discussing ways we can do something pretty positive towards the contestants' education, with scholarships,' she said. […]

    Eric Morley came up with the idea for the Miss World competition 50 years ago to promote the Festival of Britain of 1951. After she married him in 1960 Julia Morley became the 'mother hen' figure behind the scenes, chaperoning the contestants and protecting them from the press. While her husband was alive she tried to make the pageant less demeaning to women. She coined the phrase 'beauty with a purpose' and banned disclosure of the contestants' vital statistics. (John Arlidge, Observer, 15 Apr)

Quelle: USA

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aktualisiert am 26.04.2002