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2009/04/24 10:54 KST
Seoul to hold anti-beauty pageant festival

   SEOUL, April 24 (Yonhap) -- Mocking the standard yardstick for women's beauty and the lingering patriarchy in South Korea's Confucian society, an anti-Miss Korea festival is set to open in Seoul Saturday, organizers of the event said on their Web site.

   Changing this year's title to the "IF Festival" from "Anti Festival," the event will be hosted by female director Byun Young-joo and will feature various performances and lectures on female solidarity, survival and more.

   Former singers with the Korea National Opera who were laid off without insurance or retirement pay will open the festival with the ballad "Flower Selling Girls."

   Other performances will include the skit "Paradise of Their Own," which satirizes the uglier side of Korean society that led to the suicide of actress Jang Ja-yeon, who was allegedly forced to offer sexual favors to high-powered entertainment figures.

   More lighthearted performances will include a group of 50-something women dancing to Abba's "Waterloo."

   The first anti-Miss Korea festival opened in 1999 and played a major role in stopping broadcasters from airing beauty contests that had once been a favorite among male audiences for more than four decades. Criticized for commercializing women and their bodies, the show was taken off air in 2002 and hasn't been seen on television since.

   The 11th "IF Festival" will be held on Saturday from 7 p.m. at Sogang University in western Seoul. Admission for adults is 12,000 won (about US$9).

   hayney@yna.co.kr
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