Heat on `sexist' pageant
Friday, August 13, 2010
Is a men's pageant, with women judges and a live audience exclusively made up of women, sexist?
The Federation of Trade Unions and other pressure groups think so, insisting that TVB's Mr Hong Kong contest to be held on August 21 breaches the Sex Discrimination Ordinance and should either be stopped or reformatted.
Legislator Wong Kwok-hing said the FTU, Parents for the Family Association, the Organization of Justice and Equality, and Hong Kong Men's Concern Group have lodged a formal complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission, which promised to look into the issue.
A separate meeting with the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority last Friday concluded with no consensus.
The annual pageant has been the subject of several complaints since it was first held in 2005. But this is the first time several groups have banded together to protest against the format, in which only women judges and voters can influence the outcome.
The Sex Discrimination Ordinance said it is unlawful for a service provider not to provide goods, services or facilities on the basis of sex.
In a bid to appease critics, TVB said it will allow men to watch the show live but from a theater and not as part of the live audience. They will be allowed to vote.
However, Wong insisted yesterday the whole set-up is sexist.
"There were several gentlemen who queued up for tickets for the show but were refused," Wong said.
"Unlike Miss Hong Kong, in which judges and the audience are both male and female, all judges for Mr Hong Kong are women."
Ten finalists from among 29 contestants will be interviewed, asked to show off talents and then parade in tight-fitting Speedo swimming trunks.
In past shows, some women judges lost control during the parade and reached out to touch the men. Wong said there is no such contact between contestants and judges in female pageants.
TVB said the show will be shown in 3D in cinemas at the Elements and Olympic City shopping malls.
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