Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers if they thought international beauty contest participants necessarily represented their countries. Here are some of the comments: They were also asked whether girls should be allowed to take part in such contests and whether any relevant authorities should be involved.
Duong Trung, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
The reputation of a country is represented by many people, including politicians, businessmen, scientists and athletes. I believe these people have far more influence than a few beauty-pageant contestants.
Beauty pageants make up just a fraction of the world's cultural events. We should not pay much attention to them. For me, winning a beauty pageant does not make a country richer.
Venezuela produces numerous beauty queens, but currently suffers from an economic crisis. Since beauty pageants are not important in the daily life of most people, the Government should not be too concerned.
There are many more urgent issues to be solved, such as violence at some traditional festivals. In the last few years, winners of many local pageants have declined to take part in international contests.
Hiro Hamada, Japanese, Tokyo
A country's reputation isn't represented by beauty contest winners. Being judged by strangers and looked at by millions, how many of them can even remain being themselves?
Only a lucky few, one per cent maybe, happen to fit all the defined beauty qualifications to represent their countries. They are also likely to have been pampered and spoiled to no end because of their looks.
The media made such a big deal when a Vietnamese girl made it to the top ranks of a recent international beauty contest. But I failed to see the point. It made me think of the Vietnamese women who were trafficked outside of the country and forced into prostitution.
I also think of the "affordable brides" hunted by foreigners from certain countries. And I wonder how winning international tittles are going to change that?
And who would want to endure one of those dreadful swimsuits contests?
Pham Quang Vinh, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
It has recently become trendy for organisers of football matches to look for as many teams from foreign countries as possible so that they can call their event international.
I remember one contest organised recently when a football team from a developed country with superior physical strength and posture was soundly beaten by local players. Later on, it was discovered that that foreign team was actually a relatively unknown club back in its own country.
In 1988 when the first Miss Viet Nam pageant was held by the Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper, Vietnamese went crazy, which they always do when talking about number one or the best. This explains why Vietnamese have established their own version of the Guinness Book of Records.
Since the first pageant, different variations have developed. However, the craze seems to have faded as beauty contests have become routine everywhere, from schools to neighbourhoods and provinces - and in various social sectors and for different communities and groups.
Competition run for fun and entertainment are no problem. But when winners are sought and used by businesses to promote their products or services they can make very good money. This is their own business. However, I also wonder if this is the reason authorities want participants in overseas pageants to be vetted before heading off.
Do they think that winners of international contests will return home to a fortune and believe this should be put under control? If this is true, any attempts to fine unauthorised contestants for representing the country may be financially motivated.
It would be more rational if the authorities made known what contests are classed as officially involving Viet Nam and what clueless contestants should do to avoid fines.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
As a red-blooded single man, I like checking out any beauty contest. As soon as contestants parade by, I yell at the TV. They look the same! Heavy on make-up and fake smiles all around. Can you spell p-l-a-s-t-i-c?
I have no idea about requirements to get to the next competitive level. All I know is women must wear a bikini. Few are bothered about their compassion, intelligence, education or abilities.
If they lose, they are ugly. The winner must look impossibly perfect for the year of her reign, but will forever be known as Miss Whatever for that year. It's all downhill from there.
Ethnically speaking, most women are not representative of their geographical region. I doubt many of them have done a day's labour in their life and most are an idealised, urban, dare I say whiter version of their respective peoples.
Beauty is symmetrical and blemish free. Contestants are uniformly tall, slim and with long hair. After the show you can put all these porcelain pieces back in a box. — VNS