The Miss Landmine Angola pageant 2008

17 posts / 0 new
Last post
The Miss Landmine Angola pageant 2008



[url=]Here[/url] is a beauty contest for landmine survivors, created by Norwegian artist Morten Traavik.


(in no particular order)

* Female pride and empowerment.

* Disabled pride and empowerment.

* Global and local landmine awareness and information.

* Challenge inferiority and/or guilt complexes that hinder creativity-
historical, cultural, social, personal, African, European.

* Question established concepts of physical perfection.

* Challenge old and ingrown concepts of cultural cooperation.

* Celebrate true beauty.

* Replace the passive term 'Victim' with the active term 'Survivor'

Not quite sure what to make of this.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

[url=]I think it's a brilliant idea.[/url]


Their most successful industries in Angola are manufacturing artificial limbs for domestic markets ... and exporting oil to the U.S. Yanks are in for a large share of comeuppance one of these days.

[ 19 November 2007: Message edited by: Fidel ]


I'm not sure what to think about this either. I don't think anyone would say they oppose female and disabled rights, or the raising of awareness about landmines. It's just that the mobilization of traditional ways of objectifying women doesn't seem like the best way to go about it. Also, because the creator is identified as an artist, it's unclear whether the enterprise is a semi-ironic art project or if it is a full honest-to-goodness beauty pageant, so it's hard to know how to respond to it.

I don't like the artist's summing up the feminist response as being an "old-school" throwback.


There are many old-school feminists of both sexes in leading positions of many aid agencies. Hearing the word “beauty pageant” they are time-warped back to the Seventies and the dialogue stops there, the Norwegian artist believes.

Rather than addressing their criticism, Traavik dismisses feminists as old-fashioned and stuck in the seventies. In doing so, he is just as readily stopping dialogue.

Maysie Maysie's picture

The more I read the more I'm not impressed.


Dolled up in Luanda
In Angola disabled women are often isolated and looked down upon. Therefore, many of the women initially didn’t believe Morten Traavik, as he travelled around the country to sign up candidates for the pageant.

- It was almost too good to be true that they were to do a fun assignment and be seen and heard. They received a fee of 200 USD per working day, free travel and accommodation, and got to keep the dresses, says Traavik, adding that there was a lot of laughter on the set.

Um, I'm not sure anyone who would turn down $200 a day with free accommodation.


- I think it was a bit like winning in the grand lottery, to get to travel, be dolled up and catered for.

Yeah, this is what all women dream of. [img]rolleyes.gif" border="0[/img]

Male gaze anyone? Exotification anyone?

I'd like to hear from the women. Yeah, yeah I'm a broken record, always wanting to hear from people directly rather than someone like Mr. Traavik who is neither Angolan nor a woman.


Exactly. The guy who put this together is not Angolan or a woman. It feels a lot more like "exploitation" than "help" to me.

If the women had put this together themselves, on the other hand, I would feel differently.


Yes, many of us feminists are "time-warped" back to when a woman's entire self-worth was determined by her sexual attractiveness; when Miss America was considered to be the paragon of womanhood. Feminists of my mom's generation fought for, among other things, the way things are now; that is, the widespread recognition that beauty pageants are silly and trivial.

OTOH, helping impoverished women with missing limbs realize that they are beautiful isn't such a bad thing.

And yeah; I had the same thought: why is a European artist taking so much of an interest in Angolan women? Maybe his motivations are noble, but I hope he doesn't end up trivializing the tragedy and hardship these women have been through, putting them briefly in the limelight for the sake of promoting his own art.

Pride for Red D...

What are the criteria for winning ?


I think Princess Diana might have approved of Traavik's efforts to raise awareness about landmines, especially in Angola.


[url=]This African blogger has a good take on it:[/url]


I'm going to change a few variables in the purpose statement put forward by the organizers of Miss Landmine. Can you imagine what kind of reaction this project would elicit if it had the following mission statement:

the MISS HOLOCAUST project puts the global anti-semitism problem and its survivors in the spotlight in a new, celebratory and life-affirming way.

Quite right.


[img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img] [img]biggrin.gif" border="0[/img]



Please...after spending time in a concentration camp, Miss Holocaust would be in perfect trim to beat the competition at regular beauty pageants. [img]tongue.gif" border="0[/img]


But there are tens of millions suffering late stage kwashiorkor around the world in desperate need of haute couture. Concentration camps would be a niche market by comparison.

martin dufresne

Cynicism digs its own grave.

martin dufresne

Here is what a honest pitch for Mr. Traavik's project would be:
Since I happen to make a thousand times more money than you women do - because of the West's exploitation of Angola's resources and World Bank structural adjustment policies that gutted traditional women-centered market economies here - I am in a position to make you an offer you can hardly refuse. Where most male tourists would ask you to service them sexually for a few dollars, I am ready to offer you ten times more money if you allow me to photograph you, bringing attention - and, in some eyes, nobility - to the wounds you experienced because of landmines built/sold/airdropped by our countries in a war predicated on our extreme commercial interest for your country's ample natural resources.
Although I assure you that my intentions are purely artistic and humanitarian, it just happens that photographs of disabled women bring out a special well-heeled male audience in the Western world. You will make me world-famous as a benevolent and creative person and be entitled to keep a dress for your time and think of yourself as famous in your own right.
Shooting conditions bring out child-like laughter in my subjects and my photographs tend to point this out.
War doesn't have to be hell - just make sure you sign the release form. [img]cool.gif" border="0[/img]

[ 23 November 2007: Message edited by: martin dufresne ]

remind remind's picture


There are many other things people can do to stop the horror of landmines; see this and this for ideas.

DO SOMETHING: Email the director the Miss Landmine project here: [email protected]

From Mercy's link above