Miss Papua New Guinea has been stripped of her crown after sharing a video of her twerking on TikTok, and critics say the incident reveals a deeply rooted culture of misogyny in the country.
Lucy Maino, 25, who also served as the co-captain of the Papua New Guinea women’s soccer team, faced intense harassment online after sharing a video of her twerking on the video sharing app TikTok.
Although twerking videos are common on the app, Maino’s now-deleted video was singled out by critics who said it was inappropriate for a “role model” to share a video of her dancing in this manner.
The video was downloaded from his private account and shared on social media platforms and YouTube, where thousands of people gathered to criticize Maino.
After the video and the reaction to it, Maino was “released” from her duties by the Miss Pacific Islands Pageant PNG (MPIP PNG) committee this week.
“Our main purpose is the empowerment of women. We are a unique contest style platform that promotes cultural heritage, traditional values and exchange through tourism about our country and our people, ”the committee said in a statement. “MPIP PNG promotes the virtues of confidence, self-esteem, integrity and community service with a parallel focus on education.”
Allan Bird, Governor of East Sepik and Co-Chair of the Coalition of Parliamentarians Against Gender-Based Violence, denounced Maino’s online harassment, writing on social media: “What kind of society condemns the torture and murder of women and without Still angry? when a young girl makes a dance video? “
A former Miss PNG, who did not want to be named, said the incident showed deep-seated misogyny in the country.
“I’m sure if a male public figure did a TikTok , we would all laugh or even praise him, ”he said.
Maino received a soccer scholarship that allowed him to complete a bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Hawaii. She represented Papua New Guinea as co-captain of the 2019 national team, winning two gold medals at the 2019 Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa.
She was crowned Miss Papua New Guinea, a role that involves acting as the country’s cultural ambassador and advocate for women, in 2019. She continued in office for another year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many people criticized the committee for not supporting Maino after she was attacked for the video.
One women’s advocate, who declined to be named for fear of becoming the target of people who harassed Maino online, said: “The committee could have handled it better by first outlining the clause that she violated as reigning queen … I think they threw her under the bus and didn’t give her a chance to speak. That is not the way to go. “
The United Nations in Papua New Guinea expressed their discontent through a statement on Facebook: “We see the devastation of violence against women and children in this beautiful country. Some have lost their lives due to bullying… It begins by telling women to cover up. It begins by telling women that they shouldn’t dance like this. “
The Guardian reached out to Maino and the MPIP PNG committee for comment, but they did not respond at the time of publication.