Miss Papua New Guinea has been stripped of her crown after sharing a TikTok video of herself twerking. Lucy Maino, 25, was crowned Miss Papua New Guinea in 2019 but her reign continued for a longer period because no pageant was held in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Maino’s twerking video was downloaded from her private account and shared on social media platforms and YouTube. Viewers immediately started harassing and criticizing her online, the Guardian reported. The Miss Pacific Islands Pageant PNG (MPIP PNG) committee this week said Maino had now been released from her duties as a beauty queen. It said it arrived at this decision after a meeting between the MPIP PNG Committee and Maino, during which “an amicable decision was reached”.
“Our core purpose is empowerment of women. We are a unique pageant style platform that promotes cultural heritage, traditional values and sharing through tourism about our country and people,” the committee said in a statement. “MPIP PNG promotes the virtues of confidence, self-worth, integrity, and community service with a parallel focus on education.”
Some people on social media have criticized the committee’s decision. “What kind of society condemns the torture and killing of women yet get upset when a young woman does a dance video?” Allan Bird, the governor of East Sepik and co-chair of the Coalition of Parliamentarians against Gender-Based Violence, wrote.
A former Miss PNG said the incident “showed deep-seated misogyny in the country.”
The United Nations in Papua New Guinea said it was also disappointed about the committee’s decision. In a statement on its official Facebook page, it said: “We see the devastation of violence against women and children in this beautiful country. Some through bullying have lost their lives … It starts with telling women they should cover up. It starts with telling women, they shouldn’t dance like that.”
Maino, apart from being a beauty queen, is also a footballer who represented her national team as co-captain in 2019. She won two gold medals in the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa. She received a football scholarship which enabled her to complete a degree in business administration at the University of Hawaii. As Miss Papua Guinea, she was an advocate for women while acting as a cultural ambassador for the country, according to the Guardian.