University of Oxford

Miss World Speaks at Oxford University, Defends Contest



Miss World 2013 speaks at the prestigious Oxford University and defends the Miss World event from detractors who say it demeans women.

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Some of the sharpest minds in student academics turned out at the prestigious Oxford University to hear a speech from Miss World 2013 and contestants for this year’s competition on Tuesday.

Megan Young was crowned Miss World 2013 when she represented the country of her mother’s birth the Philippines.

But it was less about her looks today when she spoke before a crowd of students at the Oxford Union and defended the Miss World event from detractors who say it demeans women.

Before she spoke to the crowd, Young and this year’s contestants were given a tour of the University’s centuries-old buildings, where some of the world’s most celebrated scientists, writers and academic minds have studied.

Young implied that she was feeling a few nerves before the speech.

“I’m a bit nervous of course we’re in the Oxford University and we’ll be with the Oxford Union so for me to just step into this campus and be in this area where very famous have been it’s an honour and I’m just very excited and nervous at the same time.”

Young was joined at the debate by competitors for the Miss World 2014 title.

One of those to join her was Miss England, Carina Tyrrell, who is a final year medicine student at Oxford’s traditional academic rivals, Cambridge University.

Tyrrell defended the competition from criticism that women are judged more on their looks rather than their brains.

“You are surrounded by women who represent their countries. These are role models, they are role models to young women and role models to society.”

Tyrrell also said that she was looking forward to debating against Oxford University students.

“There is a little bit, yes. I’m hoping to make Cambridge proud and stand my ground, certainly,” she said.

Once the tour was finished Young and the Miss World contestants made their way to the Oxford Union, where they were also joined by the 1953 winner Denise Perrier.

The likes of Miss South Africa and Miss United States then delivered speeches before a busy Union.

“Miss World allows women the chance to represent their countries. It allows us the chance to lead. Miss World is not a celebrity, she is an ambassador. She tells women all around the world again that it’s okay to have an opinion. She makes changes happen. She identifies problems and she finds solutions. She changes the world,” said Miss United States, Elizabeth Safrit.

The contestants then fielded questions from students and Megan Young got emotional as she recalled what the hardest part of being Miss World has been.

“And what… it hurts really, it really does hurt and sometimes you just can’t help but cry. I’m sorry I’m getting really emotional because you know I’ve been through so many countries and it’s just so difficult seeing them in this position and you know people are saying you’re Miss World you should save the world, and to be honest, we can’t really save the world as a whole, we’re doing it part by part. We’re not Superman. We’re human too,” said Young.

With the debate at an end the Miss World contestants and students left the Union.

“I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t have more of a debate, wasn’t formed throughout the evening, perhaps, on the kind of moral issues behind having what’s still fundamentally a beauty pageant. And having women from such privileged backgrounds being supposedly representative of their countries,” said Oxford University student, Kate Welsh.

“All of us here just came to prove that it’s a lot more than just pretty faces behind us. Whether it’s a story or here for a reason, for a personal reason,” said Miss Puerto Rico.

Miss World 2014 takes place on December 14 at the ExCeL Arena in London, where Megan Young will be on hand to crown the latest woman to win the historic prize.

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