Miss Universe Condom Contest Video: Awareness or Abstinence?
Miss Universe contestants participated in the condom Olympics contest but the event has since came under fire. The video shows Miss Universe Australia Rachael Finch blowing up a condom, as an effort to raise AIDS and HIV awareness.
In the contest, pageants tested the condom limits by blowing them up, filling them with water, and also learned how to conduct condom demonstrations. A representative from AIDS prevention group Population Services International (PSI) said they hope the Miss Universe contestants would support HIV and AIDS initiatives when they return to their countries.
Some see it as counterproductive and ineffective. Alyssa Cardova from a conservative women's organization, Clarie Booth Luce Policy Institute, thinks that it downplays abstinence, and "perpetuates the lie that if you use a condom everything will be ok".
These 'Condom Olympics' seem quite counterproductive to raising awareness of the seriousness of HIV," said Alyssa Cardova, from the Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute, a conservative women’s organization, to CNSNews .
Cordova also took offense at the lack of an abstinence message. "Playing right into our culture’s obsession with political correctness, the Miss Universe organization downplays the only thing that prevents the spread and contraction of HIV that is 100 percent effective - abstinence - and perpetuates the lie that if you use a condom everything will be ok,"she told FOXnews.com .
Marshall Stowell, communications director at PSI, defended the games and said, "The point of all of those games is to teach the participants, whether they be youth or Miss Universe contestants, the proper technique for using a condom, because part of HIV prevention is correct and consistent condom use."
She also said that abstinence is not an option for some women in many countries.
"[I]f you're dealing with women that are, for instance, sex workers, that are extremely poor, very uneducated, and have either been trafficked or drugged or in the sex industry – abstinence is not the right message for them"
The debate continues, and is unlikely to reach any consensus. Conservative views on abstinence are deeply rooted in some groups even when studies have show abstinence programmes are ineffective.