Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Real empowerment is more than skin-deep

Real empowerment is more than skin-deep

Real empowerment is more than skin-deep

Dear Editor,

Like many people in Cambodia, I have been following the Miss Landmine pageant and pondering the perceived benefits of such an event. I fully agree that the pageant brings the issue of land mines to the forefront, gives victims a face and a voice, and challenges existing stereotypes and concepts of beauty. However, I'm tempted to condone the cancellation of the competition because I feel there are better ways to reach these objectives without resorting to a medium based on competition and superficiality. Yes, the competition is supposed to show that women with missing limbs can be beautiful, but could this not have been highlighted in a different way? Via a photo shoot, interactive seminar, or larger multimedia campaign? Could the organisers have teamed up with other NGOs and clinics, pooled the resources from sponsors, and given ALL these women custom-made prosthetics that they wouldn't have to "compete" for?

As for beauty, whose concept of beauty is being promoted? I visited the Web site and found the women from different villages in halter tops and short dresses, which may or may not be the clothing that they would usually wear, but it seemed out of place. Are the organisers, while completely well-meaning, pushing a Western interpretation of "empowerment" where beauty and liberation is equated with being sexy and showing skin? I would have rather liked to see the women wearing something they chose, Western or traditional Khmer, modern or conservative, which made them feel their most beautiful.

They should be given an opportunity to not only show how beautiful they are on the outside, but to show the inner strength and resilience they possess to live with their experience and carry on, to inspire other survivors and those of us who often take our lives for granted. That, to me, is empowerment.

Ambreen Mirza
Phnom Penh

Send letters to: [email protected] or PO Box 146, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The Post reserves the right to edit letters to a shorter length.
The views expressed above are solely the author's and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty