Why did this woman storm Miss World pageant? Witness – BBC News

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In November 1970, a group of feminist activists stormed the stage at the Royal Albert Hall, to disrupt the Miss World Beauty contest.
Sally Alexander was one of those who organised the protest and talks about her motivations for disrupting the event, host Bob Hope’s reaction and how it did not all go according to plan.
Witness is a World Service radio programme of the stories of our times told by the people who were there.

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Comment (143)

  1. miss world, is not sexist and no feminist should have stormed the show, since the women were not forced to do it. also should men start storming Mr Universe now 2. sexism is a 2 way door, and feminist r sexist. they only group that truly wants equal rights is a humanist. There is should a thing as man abuse, too, yet u dont hear of that in the news. shameful 

  2. This protest actually made sense to me, in comparison to what else I've seen sprout from feminism.
    This is soooo different from modern feminism.. I absolutely can't stand the anti-male feminism we see these days..
    Such as international castration day.. Which is no joke to them, it's absolutely serious.

  3. Under feminist logic, men should also storm Mr Universe for 'Objectifying Men'

    The human body is a beautiful thing.

    I do agree with the viewpoint that women should be recognised for more than beauty, but Miss World is not just about looks. At least not now its not.

    I think feminists just hate the idea men appreciate femininity.

  4. These feminists are ridiculous. Women are being butchered by Capitalism. Legalized FGM in the guise of plastic surgery. Breast augmentation, Breast reductions. Labia plasty. Then all the prescription drugs that are poisoning our women. Given by doctors who just want to get them out the door and take a nice back hander off the drug company for prescribing the latest anti-depressant. Birth control drugs which wreck women's reproductive organs. So where are you all when these women who have been brainwashed by a runaway capitalist machine. Brainwashed by the garbage magazines targeting women. Telling them their bodies are inferior. When they are being maimed for life by so called surgeons. Why are you not protesting outside those plastic surgery clinics. Why are you not burning Heat magazine and many others in the street. Instead they target a beauty pageant. That nobody with any IQ level would be interested in seeing any way. They poison and butcher our women. And you are bothered about a silly beauty pageant.

  5. Sally Alexander, what a tremendous woman, I get the same feeling of admiration as she tells what she did that I sometimes get when guys relate their recollections of their exploits in war…   It's good to hear similar bravery for a just cause.

  6. Well done, Sally, and your fellow protesters. Though this protest was almost half a century ago, it is well remembered as a pivotal moment in women's equality.

  7. The world is such a better place now, thank you feminist, your so brave. I could never be so brave as to make a buffoon of myself in front hundreds of people. Also, because of feminism, Im no longer attracted to beautiful women, only loud, dominate, unattractive women who run around naked with vagina hats and crude signs in very public places. PROGRESS.

  8. So let me get this straight. This woman protested the choice of other woman, under the pretense that these woman should not be allowed to exercise such choice, because in her very small mind it would let to their exploitation?
    What a witch.

  9. Gonna have to disagree here. All these contestants wanted to be there. They wanted to compete. There was no force. You don't have the right to interfere in others peoples dreams like this.

  10. While growing up i used to watch these contests and i started to believe in notion that a women to has to physically beautiful in order to fit in. Well during teen days i didn't look pretty and it disturbed me to some extent. Unknowingly or whatever this leaves an impression on young mind. Some people had to come forward to let others know that we don't have to follow these ridiculous notions.

  11. The Womens Liberation Movement logic was completely wrong regarding Miss World. The whole philosophy of a beauty pageant is to recognize beauty. There certainly is enough ugliness in the World, so why not recognize beauty? There are Mr. Universe contests who are judged solely on looks. I don't recall any protests for those contests. You know who won this battle? The pageants won, that's who. They continue today.

  12. She actually did influence reforms to the pageant..back then Miss World was just about physical beauty and winners were crowned in their swimsuits..now the interview section is an integral part of the pageant

  13. People below the comments saying mean things about her. You must have in mind things were so different those times. Women were paid much less than men, women were only appreciated by their looks and not their minds or personalities. Women's divorced or single mothers were excluded from jobs and universities. They were trying to change the way women were perceived. Just that.

  14. So if women want men to notice their minds not their bodies, why do they still cake themselves in paint, wear flattering bras and skirts plus high heels. Not to mention all the cosmetic surgery they get done

  15. Her intension may be noble but nobody is compelling these girls to participate.Its their freedom of choice.There is not much difference between her and the Ayatollah of Iran ie for enforcing their will on others.

  16. It's interesting that a moment so vital for the emancipation and liberation of women was scripted from a beauty contestant memoirs that something so powerful for bring women any real dignity or seen as people some how isn't a subject easily broached even amongst it's radical pioneers more as somehow having strength is something we have to apologize still for and only those for whom have compliance in a patriarchy like the 1970's winner or those who has been subjugated to it's BS like Miss Grenada was able bring it to public attention once more after-all she initially eat into the proper gander of pageants claim to fame or fortune only to realize it was false after all through the movie she thought she was blazing the trail and many ways she did eventually for girls of ethnicity but didn't realize her dreams through winning as the commentator wouldn't even so much as let her speak let alone be journalist.

    I'd say she didn't realize her greatest gains until she found her own inner voice and strength whatever prizes she got for the beauty pageant can't be worth a movie deal and particularly if she turn to other side that kind of says it all!

    Girls don't enter these things to be objectified they enter – thinking it's their ticket to ride and their one shot to fortune and glory.

    It's strange the only voice seem to have been heard to bring such a profound event for objective human progress this story and a message brought to the public eye once more came from the mouth most unlikely but I guess it brings us back the roots of feminism that it was never a movement bore amongst the elite bourgeois middle class though started by them rather the more fervently fighter of it amongst those whose it subjugated the hardest.

    Like the so called "winner" of the 1970 beauty pageant imagine the effort of going though all that horseshit and scrutiny and not even getting what you wanted. I sure she's found greater power if not exhilaration in re-jolting and the retelling of the feminist movement weaving her own success within it.

    I'm constantly told we don't need feminism any more that we have equal pay and equal respect like being female I've half a male brain normal or financial brain or otherwise in the court of law in some countries whatever flies fellas – what a load of crock and brainwashing that is like a person worth in only in dollars and cents.

    Like that seems to be the only obsession today what about human dignity at least in the 1970's feminists knew what was even more important I really dig the men who came to join these woman in the fight I don't see enough of that these days who had the balls to stand up for what's right.

    We protest more today fervently for animals then what truly matters then the rights of women today because it's too scary or many deem it unnecessary not that I don't believe animals don't have same rights it's just being a women just feels at time less then being animal but what a joke thank god though sanity is coming back in fashion since the successfully getting rid of Donald Trump.

    But our boards and our communities are not equal worldwide and there are girls being step or killed for what we all take for grant today as a matter of fact there are less girls in the world's population today due misogyny so the fight hasn't even begun let alone feminism not being necessary.

    If the movie didn't come out never knew this ever happened latest interesting pageant protest I've seen (humby cattle shows) outside of watching this movie was that lesbian protest getting kicked off stating she knew she could win as a transgender.

    I'm a feminist and never even heard of of such a critical modern event in such recent history even existed till the movie came out this year which is rather disappointing when it should be something we should celebrated and educated in all the schools if not the world.

    Onward and upwards people true power is only found we you find your own inner voice and self respect!

    Thank you Sally Alexandra, Jo Robinson, Jenny Fortune, Sue Finch, Jane Grant, Sarah Wilson for your bravery we salute you and Jennifer Josephine Hosten for keeping record of such an important part of history and having the courage to bring it front and centre stage and back to life.

  17. My question is to anyone that knows – in the real 1970's Miss World Pageant.

    Did they really turn these beauty contestants around in internationally televised syndication – to take a quote on their butts like in the movie.

    I've search every where but haven't found any definitive answer and would really like to know that really happened – as to how far we've come or was that just added for dramatic effect?

  18. Why wear the hair extensions and get various implants today if they do not want to be attractive to others? We are fooling ourselves if we think that in addition to garnering knowledge we are not sizing each other up and competing. At least these competitions can be used as a stepping stone. I find nothing wrong with competing. Lighten up. Stop trying to demonize at every turn.

  19. And now Miss World has evolved to the charity-oriented contest it is today. The two main sections of the contest are the interview and the charity project every contestant has to present. They also evaluate their talents, athletics and poise.

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