Ever since Miss China Wenxia Yu was crowned Miss World Aug.18, she has come under flak for jury favoritism and seems to bear the jinx: "uneasy rests the head that wears this crown." Even the host city Ordos is not spared as reports of economic woes and subtle attempts to refurbish its image surface amid its ongoing attempts to win international recognition.
Though courting controversy is nothing new to Miss World beauty pageants, it is the frequency of occurrence that seems to make news.
Soon after Miss China won the coveted beauty pageant in 2012, the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the Miss World organizers were flooded with angry comments accusing jury of being influenced by the host city.
One of the first comments read: "MWO you sold Miss World for the Chinese. They poured MILLIONS into the contest, so it is not very surprising that they won," Examiner reported.
And comments continue to pour in, even as of last 24 hours that is both congratulatory and scathing.
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Here's sample of a few recent Facebook comments:
Delacore Thailand posted: "Fake, Julia Morley and Miss World Organization...You can't use concept "Beauty with a purpose" please change to "Beauty with the money"...You so bad, Julia."
Nicole Lorn posted: "Between Miss South Sudan & India answer and Miss China... There's a big difference in sincerity...in heart and brain concern. Not seeing them two in runner up... is a questionable thing. Judges were not introduced...why? 'Bitterness kills'...yes! But if it is unfair... A voice should be heard... "Peace""
Even as criticism of unfair practice rant high, the host city of Ordos seems to have attracted equal amount of criticism for its real estate woes.
Women's Wear Daily (WWD), the leading fashion, retail and beauty publication noted in its report that usually the city of Sanya in Hainan province played host to beauty pageants in China (five previous occasions) and this year Ordos hosted the pageant as it sought global branding. However, city authorities seemed to have controlled media reportage amid concerns of corruption and worsening property bubble stemming from private lending crisis.
However, beauty pageant host city controversies are not limited to Ordos. Previously, the City of Johannesburg that hosted the Miss World pageant in 2009, came under scanner for R90 million expenditure, according to Independent Online. The issue is yet to be sorted out.
Taking the discussion back to 2012 contestant winner, though no controversial reports have stemmed thus far about the Miss World, Yu Wenxia, reports of the contest being rigged in favor of the host nation seem to have taken center stage.
However, this is not the first time where a Chinese national has won the contest. In 2007, Zang Zilin from China won the prestigious crown when the city of Sanya, China, played host to the event. All seem to have taken the win in their stride at that point of time though.
Controversies relating to previous beauty pageant winners cannot be compared with that of 2012 winner as some winners were forced to relinquish their crown owing to reasons ranging from false claims in their resume to appearing in nude magazine photos.
The first such incident of a winner losing her crown was reported in 1973 when winner Marjorie Wallace of the U.S. was stripped of her crown after reports claimed that she failed to fulfill basic requirements of the job.
In 1974, winner Helen Morgan of the U.K. lost her crown after it was discovered that she was a single mother.
In 1980, winner Gabriella Brum of Germany resigned after reports of her posing nude for a magazine were unearthed.
In 1998, though the winner Israel's Linor Abargil did not lose her crown, she revealed that she was raped two months prior to the pageant.
A detailed list of the previous beauty queens who faced such controversies can be followed with the Beauty Pageant blogspot.
What is interesting to note in all these reports is that Miss World pageant without controversy appears insipid in comparison to one that sparks off a debate. Apart from winning audience attention, it also throws the floor open for discussion on larger issues concerning women's portrayal in fashion business, women's freedom and liberation in the new age.