MISS Papua New Guinea has been sensationally stripped of her crown after a video emerged of her twerking.
Lucy Maino, 25, shared a private video of herself dancing on TikTok which was then leaked and uploaded to YouTube.
The clip went viral and has resulted in a nasty backlash on social media with users telling her to ‘cover up’ and ‘not dance like that’.
But in a country that’s considered to be one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman, critics say the decision to take her title as Miss PNG highlights the entrenched misogyny that still lingers in the conservative Christian nation.
The Miss Pacific Islands Pageant PNG committee announced why Ms Maino had been released from her duties this week as the video circulated over the Easter break.
‘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.’
The issue has become such a hot-button topic in the South Pacific nation that the UN even chimed in on the controversy.
‘We see the devastation of violence against women and children in this beautiful country,’ the UN office in PNG said.
‘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.’
Ironically, Ms Maino had previously campaigned with the UN on the issue of cyber bullying.
Now she finds herself at the centre vile threats and insults flooding social media in the wake of the clip.
But there are also many who have rushed to her defence.
Allan Bird, the governor of East Sepik and co-chair of the Coalition of Parliamentarians against Gender-Based Violence, blasted the ongoing campaign of harassment against her.
‘What kind of society condemns the torture and killing of women yet get upset when a young woman does a dance video?’ he said.
A former Miss PNG, who did not wish to be named, told The Guardian it shows PNG’s double standards when it comes to gender equality.
‘I am sure if a male public figure did a TikTok , we would all be laughing or even praising him,’ she said.
In 2017 The Eliminating Violence Against Women in the Asia-Pacific Region report by the UN found that 70 per cent of woman in PNG experience gender-based violence and sexual assault in the capital Port Moresby.
The report blamed police corruption and lack of public services for the shocking statistics.
‘Gender-based violence prevents women from exercising their rights, compromises their health, restricts them from becoming fully productive and realizing their full social and economic potential,’ Steven Groff, Asian Development Bank Vice-President, said in the report.
Ms Maino, who represented PNG as the co-captain of the national women’s soccer team and has a degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii, has offered no apology for the video. – Daily Mail ■