The No-Bikini Miss World 2013?

Miss World. The 3-B chosen girls from around the world for getting one of the most prestigious beauty pageants. Sometimes I cannot differentiate between Miss World and Miss Universe, as they look like identical but different by sponsor. In general, their missions are similar, Beauty, Brain and Behavior. That’s the precious moment if you want to see the most beautiful representatives from all around the world.


Indonesia has just sent its representatives for both of them since 2005 onwards. Indonesia’s participation on these pageants always rise controversies among Indonesians themselves. During New Order, there were several cases when an Indonesian participated to Miss World or Miss Universe, but she did not represent Indonesia, just on behalf of herself. At the time, it was considered as taboo and did not fit to traditional and religion values. Showing up your body and beauty in front of public, dress up bikini and many more, it was unacceptable particularly among conservatives. However, the conditions were contrast, while Indonesian is not allowed to follow Miss World and Miss Universe, minimalist dresses were even shown up on TV.

I still remember when in 1993 and 1995, Indonesia was only guest, not as participant in Miss Universe. Even though they were very potential for getting attention and won Putri Indonesia (the only recognized beauty pageant at the time). For me, this is ironic and until 2004, there’s no vibrant news about Indonesian representative in the world’s beauty pageants.

In 2005, however, this was the breakthrough of Indonesia for joining such beauty pageants. Started by Artika Sari Devi who won Putri Indonesia 2004 and she represented Indonesia in Miss Universe 2005. There were many controversies and surely she got sympathy and antipathy. Many said that the point was on the bikini contest, and she was the only one who wore one piece swimsuit at the time. While for bikini on the stage, it wasn’t openly aired in Indonesia. Artika Sari Devi got the best 15 and it was the first achievement for Indonesia. The next year’s Miss Universe then was represented by Nadine Chandrawinata who wore bikini, and it was shocking news. She was the first Indonesian representative who dare to wear bikini among other contestants.

Pageants in Indonesia

There are two big beauty pageants held in Indonesia. First is Putri Indonesia (Indonesian Princess) which sponsored by Mustika Ratu (a famous cosmetic company) and Miss Indonesia, by Sari Ayu (also one of the largest cosmetic companies in Indonesia). There are several differences between those two. In Putri Indonesia, the veiled contestants are allowed to join such as from Aceh. Typically Acehnese contestant wears hijab. While Miss Indonesia is not. As far as I know, no one in Miss Indonesia wears hijab, unlike Putri Indonesia. Putri Indonesia winner is sent to Miss Universe, while Miss Indonesia makes her way to Miss World. And of course with no bikini at all.

There are also local beauty pageants which emphasized on cultural preservations and the winners become cultural ambassadors. Usually the pageants are in pairs such as Abang None Jakarte (Mr and Ms Jakarta), Cak-Ning Surabaya, Galuh-Nanang Banjar, Koko-Cici Chinese, Kacong Cebbing Madura, and many more.

Indonesia and Miss World 2013

Being host for Miss World 2013 (will be held on September 2013) is actually a big honor for Indonesia, as it means Indonesia is trusted to held this glamorous starred beauty pageant. Though, it must raise controversies especially from religious conservatives. Much alike when Lady Gaga was forced to scrap her concert in Indonesia, as her controversial and sensational behaviors. Many international artists have visited Indonesia and surely they modified their performances in accordance to the locals. The controversial concerts are still considered weird, even immoral, though nowadays Indonesians have been more liberal than before. Even J-Lo modified her performance without showing vulgar dances during her show in Jakarta.

As the largest Muslim majority country, such event as Miss World is still dilemmatic thing, even though we are unlike some Middle East countries. Indonesia is very complex society who cover more than 700 ethnic groups with different languages (approximately 726 languages and dialects are spoken here), religions, political views and cultures. We should be able to balance between one and other interests, it is not easy and takes a lot of time. Many opinions appear on the forthcoming Miss World which will be held in Jakarta and Bali. Why? Despite most Indonesians are moderate society, but some ultra conservatives also growing and totally oppose to Miss World. When I think again, what about Israel contestant? Will she be allowed to enter Indonesia? I do not want to speculate about it more.

I know that some Arab countries also join this event, if I am not mistaken Lebanon and Egypt.

The positive thing of Miss World event held in Indonesia is the contestants will be able to know more about Indonesia’s beauty as well as its colorful society. It is a good sign for opening wide the contestants’ point of view about Indonesia, more than just Bali. The committee has also thought about the consequence for holding this pageant in Indonesia, by deleting bikini session and replacing it with Balinese traditional sarong. I think it will be unique and the first time on Miss World event. I believe many speculate about committee’s concern about Indonesian conservatives, therefore, they choose to compromise by fitting the dress with Indonesian’s nature. Indonesian designers also get more jobs to create contestants’ dress and it is perfectly good promotion for themselves and Indonesia in general.

For respecting others, Beyonce and The Pussycat Dolls are also to lengthen their dress during show in Indonesia.

I can only imagine what will happen if all contestants wear Balinese traditional sarong instead of bikini. It could be one-piece swimsuit covered with it or like Balinese women? Let’s see then. That’s my opinion, and in this case I choose to be neutral, because everything has got its good and bad sides.

Are we ready, Indonesians? It’s up to you.

Bambang Priantono
8 June 2013

37 Komentar

Filed under Catatan, English, Opini, postaday

37 responses to “The No-Bikini Miss World 2013?

  1. uni fauzia

    suspen..ingatkan ada foto2 seksinya..huwaaa…

  2. ora melu gae akun neng MP sing anyar tho?

  3. A really interesting post Bambang. I think it is a complex area as you say for many societies – many women also consider beauty pageants to de-intellectualise women by focusing on physical appearance.
    If the contestants were to wear Balinese or Javanese traditional dress – which is so beautiful – it would be a celebration of womanhood and showcase the cultural heritage and values of Indonesia.
    But I also think most contestants these days are very well educated women and able to judge for themselves what is appropriate for them to wear – so I hope their views are respected. (Mind you, I’m not one for bikinis and high heels – very strange combination – and the less we see of some western pop stars’ bodies, the happier we’d all be.)

    • Thanks before, This is dilemma particularly for women and society. If Miss World is to be held here, I hope they will be exposed more about Indonesian values and its heritages.
      I also imagine they will dress up in traditional influenced-night gown, I think it will be more beautiful.
      And about the contestants, yes, they’re chosen and the best lady in their country. I think the committee does not vote based on physical only, but also on their achievements particularly to society.

      Let’s see then.🙂

      • All Indonesian women I have met have been very beautiful (in heart as well), thoughtful about their society and very accomplished as well. I think the strength of women in Indonesian society is one of its great assets.

      • Yes. As far as they can handle it well. Indonesian women are developing and have more influence than before. But what I sad here is the negative impact of globalization, many Indonesian women lost their own self-pride..

  4. Lagek ngerti nek tahun iki penyelenggaraan Miss World neng Indonesia.

  5. Ping-balik: The No-Bikini Miss World 2013? | bambangpriantono

  6. Interesting post! I do believe that the traditional dress would be more beautiful and enhancing for the participants than bikinis. This is of course my personal opinion, but I guess there are some rules to follow. Which doesn’t mean that rules cannot be changed! Good luck with the contest!

    • Yes, and I hope Miss World 2013 will be successful here, by emphasizing more on traditional beauty (though maybe only one-piece covered with Balinese sarong…hehehe). And I think it is compulsory to be more flexible, particularly if they want to held it in a more conservative countries in the future.🙂

  7. ga asik kalu ga ada bikini.. *eh?

  8. speaking of Israel, despite the ban in the past in which their passports were not recognized, their citizens are now allowed to enter Indonesia although a visa must be obtained in advance.

    good post, though. fancy going to bali this september?🙂

  9. Prinsip saya satu: Tolak segala jenis kontes-kontesan.
    Karena diskriminasinya sangat terasa jelas.

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