Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

In Argentina, a 60-year-old beauty pageant’s dreams come to an abrupt end

By Vaseline May26,2024
In Argentina, a 60-year-old beauty pageant’s dreams come to an abrupt end

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A 60-year-old woman watched her dreams of becoming the oldest Miss Universe contestant in history fade away in a haze of sequins and selfies Saturday at Argentina’s annual beauty pageant.

Alejandra Marisa Rodríguez, a hospital legal consultant whose participation in the competition was hailed as a triumph over ageism in a youth-obsessed world, fell short of the Miss Argentina crown. But she did take home the title of ‘best face’, one of several pageant categories, including best evening dress, best swimsuit and most elegant.

During the competition, she thanked everyone who celebrated her success in the Miss Buenos Aires competition last month. Her win there, after Miss Universe abolished the long-standing age limit, generated a frenzy of global media attention that took her from obscurity to local fame.

In the blink of an eye, the soft-spoken lawyer from the city of La Plata, south of Buenos Aires, was handing out moisturizing tips to women aspiring to achieve her surreally smooth face and promising the audience that the adage that age is just a number was true. .

“As a result of what happened to me, I believe a new door has opened for many people who may not have had it easy,” Rodríguez told The Associated Press backstage after the event, still wearing her red cocktail dress with slits that revealed to her. legs. “It was an adventure and I had no expectations other than taking on a new challenge.”

For the swimsuit portion of the Miss Argentina contest, Rodríguez chose a modest one-piece suit with a scarf draped over her shoulders, causing the crowd to vibrate as fans cheered and blew air horns.

But the judges favored Magali Benejam, a 29-year-old actress and model from Cordoba who donned a skimpy blue bikini and sky-high stilettos to win ‘best swimsuit’ and ultimately beat 27 other contestants to be crowned Miss Argentina.

“I’m so excited and so grateful to be here because the competition wasn’t easy,” Benejam told AP. She will represent Argentina in Mexico City for the global competition in November.

Even Benejam’s victory would have been impossible a year ago, as the pageant had long since set the age of participants at 28. This year, for the first time in its 73-year history, the Miss Universe competition will welcome every contestant over the age of 18. .

It’s just the latest in a series of changes for a competition that has been a lightning rod for feminist criticism since “bra-burning” protests rocked the 1968 Miss America pageant.

For decades, the Miss Universe pageant openly described itself as a spectacle of unmarried women in their late teens and twenties running around for judges to judge their appearance and personality. As more and more people found this disturbing, the organizers realized how far the competition was lagging behind the culture.

In recent years, as #MeToo and social justice movements swept the world, Miss Universe rushed to convince skeptics that it was more about minds and souls than bodies.

It removed many controversial eligibility requirements, making room for married, pregnant, lesbian and transgender women, and it removed all mentions of “beauty” from the website.

But because the competition emphasized empathy, confidence and authenticity as feminine ideals, the mentions of “young woman” remained in place, and with it the ban on crow’s feet.

While many women praised Rodriguez’s decision to compete at age 60, others wondered if she was setting an unreasonable standard for older women. Her award-winning face, statuesque figure and sculpted facial features made her blend in with the younger cohort on stage.

“It adds to the feeling that everyone should be able to look like this, all 60-year-old women should have the appearance of youth and freshness, as if they were 25,” says Lala Pasquinelli, an Argentine feminist activist. “If they don’t, it’s because they’re not willing to make the sacrifices.”

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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