| 08.05.10 | Thursday
It's that time of the year - to politicize Miss Universe!
The pageant has not even started, yet controversies are already looming over the universal horizon. Australia's candidate Jesinta Campbell is getting a lot of flak from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) "for wearing unethical clothes as her national costume in the international beauty pageant." PETA Australia spokesperson Jason Baker - in a letter to Campbell - told the beauty queen that the costume should be banned because it uses wool sourced from mulesed sheep, an "agonising" experience for the animals. Baker said: "In light of the cruelty involved in mulesing, we're sure that you, like any ethical person, would no more want to have wool as part of your outfit than you would want to parade around on stage wearing the skins of other victims of cruelty." Campbell has previously been quoted as saying that the outfit is "magnificent," "incredible" and "something that I am really proud to wear". (AAP, 8/4/2010)
As an animal welfare activist myself, I support everything that PETA stands for. Granted, the group thrives in controversy and prides itself of being a "press whore," but so does Miss Universe. However, PETA should be barking at Natasha Dwyer, the designer of the costume, and not at Campbell who, at 18, hadn't been probably aware of the cruelty involved in the manufacture of animal products on her costume. It's too late for Campbell to change her costume, even with PETA's suggestion that she carry a pair of mulesing shears "as a gesture of protest."
And speaking of real protests, Antoine Maksoud, the national director of Miss Lebanon Rahaf Abdallah, yesterday reportedly decided to withdraw Abdallah from the pageant because neither one approves of Miss Israel Bat-El Jobi's Israeli Defense Forces uniform for her costume. This "controversy" has not been confirmed by the media, although it has been posted on several message boards. Maksoud supposedly also claimed that most Israeli delegates receive "special attention" from the U.S. press - which is debatable. No one has even seen Miss Israel's costume, but let's imagine it looks like this:
Lebanon needs to chill out. The New York Times, a major anti-Israel leftist liberal newspaper, is now reporting that the United Nations is siding with Israel in relation to its brief border skirmish with Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon last Tuesday. Translation: it's Lebanon's fault. Even the Lebanese government confirmed that Israel "did not commit a violation." So if Israel is not at fault, then withdrawing Abdallah from the pageant would surely be detrimental to all parties involved with the pageant, but most especially to Abdallah herself who may never get to compete internationally again.