Most of us are now familiar with the phenomenon that is twerking, described by the Cambridge dictionary as a "style of dancing that involves bending low and moving the bottom and hips". And while many assure that this controversial move may date back to the 1800s, it is still causing debate in 2021.
Lucy Maino, recently lost her Miss Papua New Guinea crown after she shared a video of herself twerking on TikTok. And while this was not a new concept on the video platform (or in pop culture), the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant PNG (MPIP PNG) committee took a dour view of the situation, "releasing" her from her duties and reminding that the pageant's core purpose was the "empowerment of women" and the upholding of traditional values and the promotion of cultural heritage.
Maino, the pageant's 2019 winner had continued in her role for an additional year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a report by The Guardian, she had also served as co-captain of Papua New Guinea’s women’s football team, winning two gold medals in the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa.
But it is not just the pageant committee. Even as countless individuals on Twitter rail against the situation, and former pageant winners remain convinced that the situation would have been very different in case the controversy involved a man, many are lambasting Maino for her "inappropriate" behaviour. And as people downloaded the now deleted clip from her private account and proceeded to share it on all other social and video platforms, it quickly gained notoriety.
Many others brought up the scandal and debate that had surrounded Vanessa Williams, the first African American recipient of the Miss America title, in the 1980s. For the uninitiated, the 21 year old had been forced to hand back her crown in 1984 after Penthouse magazine announced its intent to publish raunchy photos that she had posed for two years earlier. Decades later, in 2016, as she returned to the competition as a judge, former Miss America CEO Sam Haskell had made a public apology to her.