Student association at Mahidol University decides to end “sexist” beauty pageant

PHOTO: Wikimedia

The Mahidol University Student Association has decided to put an end to an in-house beauty pageant that judges contestants solely on their looks. According to a Bangkok Post report, the human rights activist Wasan Paileeklee supports the decision, saying students can now focus on organising competitions that reward intellectual ability, provided these meet with public approval.

“The beauty contests may not be abusive if they are operated with fair criteria and do not bully or de-humanise contestants. But the criteria should also involve their knowledge, skills, personalities, manners, and wit. Students are scholars and they are expected to show more skill-based proficiency, not just obsess over their appearance. If they pursue (healthy) social activities, they will serve as role models for more junior students.”

Mahidol’s Student Association has also cancelled other activities that focus solely on physical appearance, as has the Bangkhen Campus at Kasetsart University. Supensri Phuengkoksung from the Social Equality Promotion Foundation agrees with the move, saying such activities should be an incentive for students to use their knowledge and learning. She says beauty pageants are inherently superficial and sexist and may no longer reflect the values of society.

The Bangkok Post reports that in 2018, Chulalongkorn University’s Political Science faculty held a referendum seeking public opinion after students lodged a petition to cancel activities that focused solely on physical appearance. A similar survey was carried out at Thammasat University in 2020, which showed that 85% of students agreed with axing the university’s beauty pageant.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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