Viet Nam News
by Tú Lệ
It was a decision guaranteed to generate controversy, and it did.
Nguyễn Thị Thành, a runner-up at the Miss Eco Tourism Vietnam contest, was disqualified recently because she had undergone dental surgery.
She had broken the rules, but were the rules fair? This was the question.
According to Point A, Clause 1, Article 10 of Decree No. 79/2012/NĐ-CP, and a recent circular guiding implementation of some of the Decree’s provisions, beauty contest candidates in Việt Nam must possess natural beauty.
So, whether an amateur or a professional model, you cannot be a contestant if you have undergone any plastic surgery. If any violations are detected, organizers will be held responsible and the contest can even have its license withdrawn.
Does this rule level the playing field?
When we compare the beauty of women within and outside the country, different criteria seem to apply.
“I find that Vietnamese women are loved for their gracefulness, calmness and fair skin. Meanwhile, international beauties are preferred for their confidence, glowing, tanned skin and sexy body,” said Trần Anh Tuấn, a 30-year-old official.
If we take a look at one of the most famous beauty contests in the world, Miss Universe, it is obvious that international contestants are often taller and better built than those from Việt Nam. They also have impressive facial contours and sophisticated that highlight their most attractive facets and gives them confidence.
Most notably, the contest allows candidates to undergo cosmetic surgery.
In 2015, Phạm Hương was crowned Miss Universe Việt Nam. She inspired a lot of women because her beauty and fashion styles were quite close to Miss Universe standards. Many people hoped that she would make a breakthrough in the international contest.
“However, on seeing her on the stage in the finale, I found that despite her modern beauty, her figure was much less impressive than those of other candidates.” Tuấn said.
“If we enlist women to compete with candidates from another country who’ve undergone cosmetic surgeries, I bet they will lose on every battlefield. Our competitors are gorgeous and can become much more beautiful after plastic surgeries. On average, Vietnamese women are shorter and less confident about showing their identity and character. It’s hard for them to defeat anyone,” he added.
Phạm Hương was actually advised to undergo cosmetic surgery to increase her chances of winning at the Miss Universe 2015 contest. However, as a Vietnamese candidate, she was governed by local law, just like her predecessors including Thùy Lâm, Hoàng Khánh Ngọc, Hoàng My, and Diễm Hương.
Đăng Chương, Director of Department for Arts and Performance, backed the rules despite the controversy.
He said the Decree meant to ensure that natural beauty was respected and honoured. He also added that if cosmetic surgeries were allowed, beauty contests would become a show of surgeons rather than a place to honor the natural beauty of Vietnamese women.
Older and beautiful
In recent times, beauty contests have expanded to include those for married woman (Mrs. World) who can be as old as fifty. It is tough for older women to retain the looks they had when they were much younger. In this situation, would it be unfair for them to beautify themselves with cosmetic surgery?
Of course, making oneself beautiful is also about keeping oneself fit, using good skincare products and so on; cosmetic surgery is a very real option for aging women, especially those with financial means, and many of them are choosing to have tattoos, eyelid cuts, nose reconstruction and breast pump surgeries. And why not, if it makes them happier and more confident?
If the regulations are strictly implemented, those who make any changes to their eyes, eyebrows, eyelids, or teeth would not not eligible to take part in beauty contests. Who misses out? The public? The organisers, some of whom have complained of difficulties in finding Mrs. World candidates because of these rules?
One main argument I would make this: women should have total control over their bodies. They do not need to have others make a decision for them. VNS