The Red Circle. Miss Revolution, the feminist milestone that was born in a beauty contest

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· On Saturday and Sunday the Grape Harvest Festival is held in Mendoza, which some time ago included the controversy over beauty contests. There were criticisms, projects so that the State no longer sponsors the contests, some participants criticize the treatment of sexual objects and propose alternatives, others denounce the conditions of the harvest workers.

queens and citizens

· The Mendoza queens are not a rarity in the world, there are many similar examples. The best known is the election of Miss World or Miss Universe. The movie miss revolution (misbehavior2020) tells the story of Miss Universe in 1970 and how it became a milestone in the UK feminist movement.

· miss revolution It is not a documentary or a testimonial film, it is a dramatic comedy. Some critics say that it sweetens the story and it is a bit like that. That does not make it less interesting, especially in what it tells us: the debates of the movement, its relationship with other struggles, the means and the ends, many discussions that are still valid in 2022.

· The story begins with a student who pays the entrance to study History. This is how we meet Sally (Keira Knightley): an academic, a young mother, in solidarity with the workers, she participates in the assemblies of the women’s movement; her script highlights her correct ways but also her desire to change things. Her opponent is Jo (Jessie Buckley): rebellious, does graffiti, does not respect anything or anyone.

· The real antagonists are the organizers of the beauty pageant miss Universewhich go against the grain of what is happening in 1970 when there are marches against the war, against Apartheid, against inequality.

· In Miss Universe, women are evaluated by their physical appearance. The highlight is the mesh parade. The participants are a sexual object that is consumed without problems.

· The argument for holding the contest was that “people like it”, it is entertainment and it doesn’t bother anyone. And he is presented as the opposite of the feminists, who are presented as the spoilers, the ones who cause problems.

· Feminists plan a protest (this actually happened). And in the “kitchen” of that protest you see many discussions, which are still present in the feminist movement and other movements against oppression. To some it seems that it is not worth disputing on this ground, they believe that there are more urgent issues. A minority insists that heReification is part of a system of oppression and inequality and it is important to fight there too.

· History will agree with the latter because in real life it ended up being a milestone, perhaps the first, of the British feminist movement.

· Like that there are many other debates. Who are the allies? Who to talk to? What to say and how to say it? Do we go to the media or do we just put up posters on the street? For some, the first option implies being part of the circus, but for Sally, and in this she is right, it is the possibility of speaking to millions of people.

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It’s more complex

· Contrary to the cartoon we can expect, the film is not simplistic.

We see the political complexity of the assembly of Miss Universe: the conflict in South Africa is on the surface, Apartheid provokes protests all over the world. To avoid protests, the organizer has no alternative but to invite a black Miss “South Africa” at the last minute, in addition to Miss South Africa, who of course is white.

· miss Universe of 1970 ends as the first contest with a black winner, it is a testimony of the times that run and at the same time a political use. And the film is not afraid to show us that duplicity.

· The portrait of the contestants also escapes stereotypes. That they treat them as objects does not mean that they are. They think things, they have ideals and expectations, that we can share them or not.

· Granada contestant Jennifer Hosten (on whose memoir the film is based) fully understands the rules and uses the contest as a platform for herself (while the country’s government uses it to promote her supposed success).

· miss revolution It is a comedy that seems harmless but shows that politics is in places that seem completely depoliticized, in the least expected places.

· Although the center of the action is the protest in the competition, which does not seem to go well but becomes a historic moment. But above all we see the tension between living in a world that wants to convince us that things are gradually improving, when reality denies it every day, and those that, with very different ideas, want to transform it, even if they sometimes seem like spoilers.

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