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Controversy over veiled girls in swimsuit beauty pageant

Objectifying, or a smart way to keep the judges’ attention on the women’s bodies? Or is that the same thing?

The organisers of a beauty pageant have defended their decision to parade contestants wearing skimpy swimsuits paired with full-face veils.

The organisers of the Miss Philippines Earth pageant say the bizarre pairing was intended to “place emphasis on the figure and form of the candidate, which was the criteria of focus for that specific portion” and to “introduce the girls with dramatic flair”.

However, many have taken exception to the decision. Writing on, Voltaire E. Tayag, said he was disturbed by it.

“The black veil was totally inappropriate and sends the wrong message about women,” he wrote. “The pageant justified their gimmick by alluding to the fact that only ‘figure and form’ was being judged.

“Unfortunately, this gimmick objectified women by emphasising to the viewing public to simply look at the body of the candidate.”

Carousel Productions, the company behind the pageant, has defended its decision. Writing on its Facebook page, the organisers said: “We honestly do not believe that the girls were objectified or that they felt objectified.

“Remember we are working with millennials. They speak their mind and will no way allow themselves to be put on the negative side.

“If you paid attention to the entire show and listened to the ladies promoting their fitness and health regimen, which is part of our environmental campaign, then maybe you would have seen it in a different way. Most often than not when you get out of the norm, there would always be questions and negativity. This is expected.”