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Topless hypocrisy at Miss Manchester

It seems that a few Miss Manchester finalists were disqualified for having taken their kit off for a camera. Fair enough or totally hypocritical? We investigate…

Published on August 7th 2006.

Topless hypocrisy at Miss Manchester

Ah, the world of the beauty pageant. Like the sea on a sunny day, its surface is glittery, smooth and pleasing to the eye. But go for a bit of a scuba dive and you’ll uncover some dark and murky things hidden in the depths below.

Did anybody else notice that Manchester’s entry in the recent Miss England competition wasn’t actually the girl who won Miss Manchester?

Unless Louise Cliffe has died her hair and undertaken some pretty extensive and quick healing cosmetic surgery, Miss Manchester in the Miss England competition wasn’t the Miss Manchester that everybody saw receive her glittery crown at the Palace Hotel in June.

And not only was Zoe Louise Bodnerac, who ended up representing Manchester in the Miss England final (and came second, funnily enough) not the original winner of Miss Manchester, she wasn’t the second, third or even fourth place finalist. She was the fifth.

So what’s going on? Was this some elaborate sabotage attempt by Zoe Louise’s over-competitive family? Had the top four Miss Manchester finalists been struck by a mysterious illness? Had they broken out into spots? Or had they, horror of horrors, been discovered to have ‘given birth to a child’ – a clear violation of the rules of entry!

The answer is, none of the above. Listen up gossip gobblers, here’s what actually happened. Two of the ladies in the final – winner Louise Cliffe and third place Gemma Roddy were disqualified - for having a couple of topless jobs listed on their modelling CV’s. The other two girls simply couldn't make it at short notice.

So why should topless modelling lead to the girls' disqualification, you ask? The rules of entry state that ‘contestants are to be of good character’ – so I suppose that the assumption is that if somebody has at some point in the past taken their top off in front of a camera then they are of bad character. Which of course is a matter of opinion, and is an argument for another time.

But I think that the basis on which Miss England disqualified the girls deserves a little bit of attention. Now Miss England is hardly the squeaky clean set up that these rejections on moral grounds would have you believe. They do, after all, make money by sending sexy ladies parading half naked up and down a catwalk.

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And if you look at the press clippings that Miss England have proudly displayed on their website, they include articles and photo shoots from The Daily Star, The Sun, and other tabloid newspapers, with headlines such as ‘Jackie Does a Strip for Boys’ and sexy photographs of contestants in saucy underwear. The text on one article from The Sun reads: ‘Unfortunately the bikini round did not feature in this year’s revamped show. But there was a Strip for the Boys round with the girls parading in sporty shorts and tiny tops.’ And Miss England runs its own range of sexy lingerie, classily adorned with the St George’s cross. Wholesome family fun I think not.

I am not for one second arguing for or against glamour modelling, stripping, or any other objectification/empowerment (depending on your own personal view) of women. That is a whole other argument.

What I am suggesting is that surely simulating stripping, sexy lingerie shots and suggestive near-topless poses are all in the same vein and taste as topless modelling. So how can Miss England disqualify contestants with one hand for getting their kit off, while with their other hand endorsing other glamour model style activities?

Hmm, perhaps the organisers should have a look at the image of themselves that they are putting out there before looking down their noses at glamour models. Forget the sweet natured homely girls of the traditional beauty pageant, who would probably want nothing more than to settle down with a nice husband and do the household chores. Today’s beauty Queens are the stuff of lads’ mags and tabloid papers - sexy, strong, and fame hungry. And Miss England seems very keen to play on this image, as long as no nipples are involved.

Jayne Robinson
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Comments and rants below.
Got an opinion? Click here to let us know what you think

I was a finalist of Miss Manchester event and i can not believe how people can be so patronising and retrictive on this issue about posing topless in previous events. All the girls had to take part in the bikini event, which is not far from getting your kit off anyway. In the rules of the competition to take part in Miss Manchester, it did not state that you was not allowed to have posed topless previously and therefore those poor girls that came 1st and 3rd have now been deprived of taking part in Miss England. All the rules stated, is that you was age of 17-24, not to have had a child and was of good nature. All the girls in the final had complied with those rules. I strongly feel that Louise Cliffe is owed an apology, due to the fact this question of previously posing topless was never asked and she should of been allowed to have taken part in Miss England. Needless to say a lot of the contestants of Miss England have posed topless and i can not believe that they have been allowed to get away with it...if they are so strict on the rules!

Sara Walton

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I was placed 3rd in this year's Miss Manchester and after loosing out to Louise Cliffe I truly thought she had a brilliant chance at winning Miss England too! A few weeks after she was crowned I was shocked to see that Zoe Louise Bodnarec was now representing Manchester at the Miss England finals. I was mainly disgusted and upset as it did not state in the rules that you were not allowed to have posed topless previously, if I had known this I would simply not have entered. It seems quite ironic as the girls that win the titles always seem to end up posing topless anyway. It also seemed funny how Zoe came 2nd in the Miss England final out of nearly 70 girls and yet she wasn't even placed in the top 3 in miss manchester which had 41 contestants so I have began to wonder if these competitions are a fix and to be honest it has actually put me off entering other modelling competitions for this reason. I really feel for Louise after being robbed of her crown, she was such a lovely girl and definitly deserved to win. Not only has Louise been robbed but also the 3 other girls who came before Zoe (including myself). Although I didn't get the chance to go onto the Miss England finals I am still proud and safe to say that I came 3rd in Miss Manchester.

Gemma Roddy

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I was i finalist of the Miss Rochdale competition, which was ran by another company but still for Miss England (which miss manchester 3rd place also took place in) it clearly started in the T&C that you must NOT have posed topless and the "bikini" round was not used - just like it was not in the Miss England final. Therfore it would be unfair to let someone in the final of Miss England if other people have been unable to take part in even the regionals for the very same reason.

Steph Mellor

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