Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Banning Miss Universe in Toronto

Yet another example of political correctness run amok: the city of Toronto refused to let Miss Universe open the Tastes of Thailand festival in a city square unless she shed her sash and tiara, and wasn’t referred to as Miss Universe or a beauty queen.

CBC News explains the purported reason:
According to a city bylaw, “activities which degrade men or women through sexual stereotyping, or exploit the bodies of men, women, boys or girls solely for the purpose of attracting attention,” are not permitted on Nathan Phillips Square.
To anybody who cares about civil liberties, the bylaw is an outrage. Not only should sexual stereotyping be protected as a kind of free expression, but what constitutes sexual stereotyping, as well as what is “degrading” and what “exploits” are entirely matters of opinion.

It isn’t news that politically correct types are intolerant prudes, but what is interesting is how vulnerable Canada (like much of Europe) is to this prudishness, having a political culture that is more elitist, less populist and more authoritarian than that of the U.S.

Happily, the current mayor of the city feels this has gone too far, and has issued an apology.

This isn’t the first such case in Toronto. It seems that rock bands can run into trouble too:
In 1992, then Toronto mayor June Rowlands banned the Barenaked Ladies from playing in Nathan Phillips Square, saying she felt the name objectified women.
Now here is the kicker: on Toronto, and Ontario generally, topless female nudity is legal via judicial fiat! This seems to be political correctness on a collision course with itself. The demure beauty of Miss Universe is unacceptable, but bare boobs are just fine!

It’s clear who the real boobs are in this case.


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