S.Korea's swimsuit beauties now a memory

March 21, 2004 at 12:59 PM
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SEOUL, March 21 (UPI) -- South Korea will no longer offer the spectacle of beauty-pageant contestants parading in identical swimsuits.

"We decided to accept criticism by women's groups and get rid of the swimsuit contest from this year's beauty pageant, scheduled to be held in June," an official of Hankook Ilbo newspaper, the main organizer of the Miss Korea pageant, told the Korea Times.

But the swimsuit competition itself isn't being eliminated. The judges will still be privy to the sight of the swimsuit-clad cuties in private proceedings held just before the main portion of the pageant.

Women's groups in South Korea have criticized the Miss Korea pageant, which began in 1957. Their protests have brought about several changes. As of 2002, the pageant was dropped from live television coverage on the major broadcast networks, and viewers now can see the pageant only on cable TV and via the Internet.

Opponents of the Miss Korea pageant also have organized an alternative pageant, known as the Anti-Miss Korea pageant, scheduled this year for May 8.

The Korea Times described that contest as being "a feminist cultural festival, welcoming participants regardless of age, weight, height, occupation or sex."

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