England's Miss World hopeful insists competition is not outdated
England’s Miss World hopeful has said the competition is evolving, hitting back at claims it is outdated.
This year’s winner will be unveiled later at a glitzy ceremony in east London.
And despite questions about the competition’s future in an era of body positivism, Bhasha Mukherjee says she is proud to represent her country.
Rejecting claims the competition is stuck in the past, the 23-year-old junior doctor said: “The best part about Miss World is that it’s evolving.
“Every year there’s a new trend about what is in fashion, in terms of body types.”
And when questioned about body image she added: “There’s clear evidence in science that links obesity with high blood pressure, diabetes.
“If you had a viral infection you would get that treated, because that’s not the best version of yourself.
“You should love your body regardless of what it is, but always strive to be your healthiest form.”
More than 110 countries are represented at this year’s event, including Miss Jamaica who will showcase her singing talents with a cover of Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing, and Miss India who has over 75,000 followers on Instagram.
It is one of the most coveted beauty titles in the world, however, its roots as a bikini competition in the 1950s has led to accusations of sexism and objectification.
The Miss World Organisation has said it is a platform for women to raise awareness and funds in aid of humanitarian causes.
“Miss World has no rules about weight or size and promotes body positivism and self-esteem,” it said in a statement.
In a week when climate change activist Greta Thunberg is unveiled as Time magazine’s Person of the Year, and Aung San Suu Kyi defends Myanmar against charges of genocide in the Hague, female icons’ use of influence is under close examination.
Miss India Suman Rao called for people to stand up and use their platforms to speak out about violence against women.
But she was reluctant to do just that when we asked about a recent rape case in Hyderabad that prompted hundreds of petitions and nationwide protests.
“Can we avoid this question,” she said, turning to the media officer.
Annabel Denham, head of Female Founders Forum, said: “We’re still seeing women being treated as objects, rather than individual people. And I just can’t see that changing in the future.
“Do I think they’re providing good role models to young girls? No. And I think that is a real problem.”