The Miss Universe 2021 competition is to be held on December 12th at the Red Sea resort of Eilat.
And with the whole #NotMyMissSouthAfrica going viral over Twitter, we all know that some beauty contestants want to insist that participating in Israel isn’t a political issue, whereas others pulled out of the competition.
Here’s a listicle of the Miss Universe 2021 contestants that pulled out of the competition and why they really had to do it.
Miss Greece, Rafaela Plastira
On seeing the announcement that the Miss Universe pageant was to be held in Israel, Rafaela Plastira, the Greek contestant from Trikala in central Greece, decided to pull out of the contest saying: “I cannot go up that stage and act like nothing is happening when people are fighting for their lives out there.”
However, Greece says that Plastira was never the contestant who was supposed to attend, so there’s nothing for her to withdraw from. Greece states that their appointment for the Miss Universe pageant is Sofia Arapogianni.
Miss Malaysia, Lavanya Sivaji
Unlike Plastira, the Malaysian contestant from Selangor in Malaysia won’t be able to participate in the Miss Universe pageant this year because of COVID-19’s restrictions, according to Miss Universe Malaysia.
Miss Indonesia, Carla Yules
Like Sivaji, Indonesia’s Miss Universe for 2020 and 2021 won’t be able to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in Israel due to travel restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.
Miss Universe Barbados announced earlier that they won’t have a delegate at the Miss Universe pageant in December since they had to withdraw because of “the worsened state of affairs in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Barbados, compounded by the restrictions on the holding of events.”
In the meantime, Hillary Ann-Williams will continue her reign as Miss Barbados 2020.
Miss Laos, Jenny Tonkham Phonchanheuang
Just like Barbados, Indonesia, and Malaysia, the Laotian contestant from Vientiane Capital won’t be able to participate in the Miss Universe pageant because of COVID-19 that “has resulted in limited international and domestic travel, and [made it] hard to gain the Israel Visa.”
It’s upsetting to see that only one contestant cared enough to pull out because of the oppression and discrimination that Palestinians face on a daily basis.
In a video by the BDS Movement, Palestinian women saluted Miss Malaysia and Indonesia for pulling out because they thought they turned the invitation away in protest of the atrocities that they’re facing every day.
They thought that there are a few women who truly cared about them. It’s hypocritical to see Miss Malaysia saying “Never be afraid to speak up for your cause, advocacy, and purpose in life,” when it was never the case that she was advocating for the basic human rights of those living in Palestine.
Miss Universe 2020 Andrea Meza and Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane insist that Miss Universe competitions aren’t political.
“Everyone with different beliefs, with different backgrounds, with different cultures, they all come together and when you are in there you forget about politics, about your religion,” Meza, told The Associated Press. “It’s just about embracing other women.”
Saying that beauty pageants are apolitical is a political statement. It’s a conscious choice to condone Israeli apartheid and still promote the country that kills thousands of Palestinians nonstop for centuries now.
It’s upsetting that it’s just Ms. Plastira who cited human rights behind her withdrawal, and that everyone else couldn’t care less. However, it means a lot that there’s someone in this contest who still hasn’t forgotten what humanity truly means.