Men are winning "Woman of the Year" awards, and they're now entering women's sports and beauty pageants.
Miss Universe is allowing two biological men to compete in the contest. Transgenders Portugal's Marina Machete and the Netherlands' Rikkie Kollé are joining the event.
The announcement has garnered outrage from X (formerly Twitter) users. "So insulting to women," writes @DeutscherJ1776.
@3Sandy7_ shared a meme on the platform that read, "Transgender ideology is a false concept that erases women and their rights."
The pageant's owner, Jakkaphong "Anne" Jakrajutatip (who is also trans), bought the parent company, Miss Universe Organization (MUO), last year. It was co-owned by former President Donald Trump, who bought it from ITT Corp. in 1996 but sold it back in 2015 to WME/IMG. Jakrajutatip bought it to empower women after years of men running the pageant. Yeah, the lack of self-awareness is astounding. Looks like men are going to continue to one-up women in everything.
The Miss Universe owner filed for bankruptcy amid the controversy. So it looks like "Go woke, go broke" carries some truth, but let's be honest: Miss Universe had been failing women for years, even before men joined the competition. In 2022, Miss USA winner R'Bonney Gabriel faced accusations of rigged pageants. The controversy came after multiple competitors alleged the pageant was rigged during Gabriel's win. Jasmine Bruce, first runner-up in the 2021 Miss Arkansas, told NBC News that R'Bonney's crowning moment seemed...off.
"There's always pageants where maybe some of the girls aren’t happy with the winner – you know, everyone wants to win," she explained. "But I've never seen all 50 contestants walk off stage or react the way that the contestants reacted in the background. To me, that’s very telling. These girls aren't just upset that they didn’t win. There’s more to the story."
Six Miss Universe contestants have also come forward to claim that they were forced to do naked physical examinations, alleging that they faced sexual harassment during these "body checks." These pageants have always had a not-so-pretty past, and I'm glad their mistreatment of women is coming to light.
This weekend, Miss Universe returned to El Salvador for the first time since 1975. The last time the beauty pageant visited the Central American country, it led to a riot that ended in a brutal massacre that sent the country into a civil war.
Poor students were angered by the government's distribution of funds when former President Arturo Armanda Molina spent $1,000,000 on the event as people starved. Less than a couple of weeks after Miss Finland – Anne Marie Pohtamo – took home the crown, El Salvador's forces occupied a university to kill more than 100 students. Perhaps the country and Miss Universe just do not go hand-in-hand; call it bad luck or poor business decisions, but I find it fitting that the pageant is now facing a financial and an identity crisis.
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