Student association at Mahidol University decides to end “sexist” beauty pageant

Student association at Mahidol University decides to end “sexist” beauty pageant

The student association of Mahidol University has decided to ban the internal beauty pageant. Some students are unhappy with the fact that the competition is judged solely on appearance.

 According to the Bangkok Post, human rights activist Vasan Pailikli backs the decision, saying that students can now focus on organizing competitions that reward intellectual ability, provided they are approved by the public.

“Beauty pageants cannot be offensive as long as they are fair and do not intimidate or dehumanize the participants. But the criteria must also include their knowledge, skills, character, manners and wit. Students are scientists and are expected to display more skill-based skills rather than just obsessing over their looks. If they engage in (healthy) community activities, they will serve as role models for more younger students.”

The Mahidol Student Association has also canceled other purely appearance-focused events, as has the Bangkhen campus at Kasetsart University. Supensri Phuengkoksung of the Foundation for the Promotion of Social Equality agreed with the move, saying such activities should be an incentive for students to use their knowledge and learning. She says beauty pageants are inherently superficial and sexist and may no longer reflect society's values.

Also, the Mahidol Student Association has decided to cancel other activities focused solely on appearance, as well as the Bangkhen campus at Kasetsart University. Supensri Phuengkoksung of the Foundation for the Promotion of Social Equality agreed with the move, saying such activities should be an incentive for students to use their knowledge and learning. She says beauty pageants are inherently superficial and sexist and may no longer reflect society's values.

The Bangkok Post reports that Chulalongkorn University's political science department held a referendum in 2018 to find out public opinion, after students filed a petition to cancel appearance-only events. A similar survey was conducted at Thammasat University in 2020 and it showed that 85% of students agree with the rejection of the university beauty pageant.