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Dethroned beauty queen demands apology before returning crown

May Myat Noe, 16, was training to become a K-pop star in South Korea after winning the Seoul-based Miss Asia Pacific World beauty pageant in May.

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But last week the organisers stripped her of the title for alleged dishonesty, accusing her of absconding with the crown and the $10,000 implants, which they say they funded to enhance her budding singing career.

On Tuesday the beauty queen hit back and demanded an apology from the organisers.

“It is natural for me to feel that an apology should be demanded to rectify the damage they have done to the integrity of my country,” she told a packed press conference in Yangon.

“I will return the crown only when they apologise to Myanmar, for the dignity of our country.”

May Myat Noe also denied accepting free breast implants.

“I was put under duress to undergo head-to-toe cosmetic surgery which I refused… I didn’t have breast implants, but I don’t want to go into details, to preserve my dignity,” she said.

Her comments appear to have deepened the acrimony between pageant organisers and their former queen.

Young Choi, founder of Miss Asia Pacific World, told AFP the organisers had photographic evidence of the breast implant operation and that they would consider legal action against May Myat Noe.

“She has been lying. She also lied at today’s news conference. She must return the crown,” he said, declining to give the cost of the tiara but explaining it was made over several weeks by ten specialists.

“It’s not for us but for her to apologise. She has been hurting our image and credibility,” he said in Seoul.

Choi said his organisation hoped to handle the sensitive matter “quietly in consideration of relations between South Korea and Myanmar” but was ready to consider a lawsuit “if she refuses to cooperate.”

Myanmar women are eyeing success in international beauty pageants as the country opens up after decades of military rule.

Despite undergoing sweeping political and social reforms, Myanmar remains a deeply conservative nation.

But new fashions and overseas products are creeping into the once cloistered nation, supported by a proliferation of magazines for young consumers and an increasingly vibrant pop culture.

Last year a US-educated business graduate was selected as the first Miss Universe contestant to represent Myanmar in more than 50 years.

May Myat Noe is the latest in a growing list of beauty queens from Southeast Asia to run into trouble.

In June Thailand’s contender for the Miss Universe pageant relinquished her crown after she allegedly called for supporters of the ousted government to be “executed”, sparking a barrage of online criticism.

Why men should change their last name when they get married

More than 50 per cent of Americans think the woman should be legally required to take her husband’s name in heterosexual marriages.

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The reason typically given is that having the same name increases a sense of family identity.

Making it into a legal requirement would be bizarre, but I agree such identity is important and sharing a name helps in its creation. Even on its own, marriage is, among other things, a way of tying yourself to the mast: deliberately making public declarations, taking vows, and arduously organizing an unnecessarily expensive party, all in order to increase your investment in each other, and make it more difficult to end the relationship during future difficult phases. Having the same name is one more way of making public and concrete your intention to stay together for the long haul.

But why should that mean that the woman takes the man’s name in heterosexual marriages?  Why should the man not take the woman’s name or, as my fiancée and I have chosen to do, both choose a new name? (We’ve gone with “MacAskill”, her maternal grandmother’s maiden name. When I tell people I’m changing my name, I’ve met raised eyebrows, confusion, or aggressive questioning. No one’s batted an eyelid when she’s told others the same.)

As with so many gender-biased traditions, this one has pretty disturbing roots. The legal concept of coverture came from England and caught on in 19th century America: the idea was that a woman, upon marriage, becomes the property of her husband. She had no right to vote or take out a bank account because she could rely on her owner to do that for her. And, of course, she couldn’t be raped by her husband—because she was essentially her husband’s property, and he was free to do with her what he wished.

We’ve made progress on these issues (though some remarkably late). But the tradition of taking the man’s name remains and, given its background, it seems to me it’s simply bad taste to carry on with it, in the same way that it would be bad taste to put on a minstrel show, no matter how pure the intentions.

You might say that we need some rule, and that taking the man’s name is as good as any other. But is this true? Why not go with whichever name sounds better? Or which name is associated with the coolest people? (MacAskill clearly beats my birth surname “Crouch” on both counts, having a better ring and being the name of both Giant MacAskill—a forebear of my fiancée’s who has a claim to be the world’s strongest ever man—and Danny MacAskill, a trial-biking legend who, also being descended from Giant MacAskill, must be a very distant cousin.)  Or any other choice made by both parties.

In general, we are happy with the idea of molding our self-image in a whole number of ways, including how we dress, look, and talk. And having the right name is a big deal—affecting expected grades, likeability, success at job applications, and likelihood of having your Facebook friend request accepted. So why the double standard when it comes to marriage?

This article was originally published on Quartz. Click here to view the original. © All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

 

What’s wrong with checking out stolen nude photos of celebrities

It is not difficult to look at naked women on the Internet.

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There are, after all, a lot of men and women who post nude photos of themselves online hoping for pageviews, extra income, or just exhibitionist titillation. So with the news over the weekend of “leaked” nude photos of various celebrities, can we please all agree not to search these pictures out? If we want to look at nude people, let’s restrict ourselves to photos of people who actually want us to see them nude. It’s not like there’s a lack of them to choose from.

Because, look: When people seek out stolen images like the ones just released of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and other celebrities, those people are violating these women in much the same way that the person who stole the pictures did.

There’s a reason why the public tends to revel in hacked or stolen nude pictures. It’s because they were taken without consent. Because the women in them (and it’s almost always women who are humiliated this way) did not want those shots to be shared.

If Jennifer Lawrence was to pose naked on the cover of Playboy, for example, I’m sure it would be a best-selling issue. But it wouldn’t have the same scandalous, viral appeal as private images stolen from her phone. Because if she shared nude images consensually, then people wouldn’t get to revel in her humiliation. And that’s really the point, isn’t it? To take a female celebrity down a notch? (We have a term for when this is done to non-celebrity women:“revenge porn.”)

There is an obsessive tendency in American culture with elevating women—young, beautiful women, especially—to celebrity status just to bask in their eventual fall. There’s also a tendency in American culture, meanwhile, to shame women for their sexuality. So I would not be surprised in the days ahead to see arguments as to why this is somehow the fault of the celebrities whose phones were hacked—that these women took the pictures, that they were posing, that generating publicity is part of their job.

But victim-blaming is just that, no matter how famous the victim is. We live in a culture with a peculiar relationship to female celebrity. In much the same way that misogyny tells men that women are there for male consumption, the public and media tell us that famous women are public property. It’s why models and pageant queens are expected to smile graciously and respond to horny teen boys asking them to prom, or why they’re called uptight bitches if they don’t smile for every camera shoved in their face. The underlying premise is that these women have consented to being there for public entertainment—whether they like it or not.

The fact that photos have been shared already is beside the point and a weak justification for violating someone’s privacy and sense of safety. Even if we’re not the people who stole the pictures, and even if we’re not publishing them on blogs or tweeting them out, looking at naked photos of someone who doesn’t want us to goes beyond voyeurism; it’s abuse.

This article was originally published on The Atlantic. Click here to view the original. © All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.

 

NFL suspends and fines Colts owner

The NFL suspended Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for the first six games of the season and fined him $US500,000 ($A540,000) for violating its personal conduct policy.

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The NFL came down hard on Tuesday just hours after Irsay pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor stemming from an embarrassing March traffic stop.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Irsay was barred from team facilities, practices and games and cannot represent the Colts and NFL meetings or events. The fine was the maximum allowed under league rules.

“I have stated on numerous occasions that owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players,” Goodell told Irsay in a letter released publicly by the NFL.

“We discussed this during our meeting and you expressed your support for that view, volunteering that owners should be held to the highest standard.”

The 55-year-old Irsay pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated and acknowledged during his appearance before a Hamilton County judge that he was under the influence of the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone when he was arrested on March 16 near his home in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.

Irsay did not comment outside the courtroom, but he apologised to Colts fans in a prepared statement.

“In retrospect, I now know that the incident opened my eyes to issues in my life that needed addressing and helped put me on the path to regain my health,” he said.

“I truly hope and pray that my episode will help in some small measure to diminish the stigma surrounding our country’s terrible and deadly problem of addiction. It is a disease.”

Irsay’s case was closely watched around the NFL – not least among players – because there are few examples of the league punishing an owner like Irsay.

Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand was suspended for 30 days and fined $US100,000 ($A108,000) in 2010 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy following his guilty plea to driving while impaired.

A player with a first-offence misdemeanor DUI would not be suspended and would be fined no more than $US50,000 ($A54,000) under terms of the collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association.

Police said an officer spotted Irsay driving slowly, stopping in the roadway and failing to use a turn signal.

Officers said he had trouble reciting the alphabet and failed field sobriety tests. Various prescription drugs were found in his vehicle, along with more than $US29,000 ($A31,000) in cash.

Irsay acknowledged in 2002 that he became dependent on painkillers after years of orthopedic operations but said he had overcome the problem.

He will be on probation for a year and is prohibited from drinking or possessing alcohol during that time. He must submit to drug testing during his probation and successfully complete a substance abuse rehabilitation program. Less than 48 hours after his arrest, the Colts said Irsay entered a treatment facility.

Irsay’s driver’s license also was suspended for one year by Judge J. Richard Campbell. Less than 48 hours after his March arrest, the Colts said Irsay entered a treatment facility. He resumed his duties with the Colts at the NFL draft in May.

Irsay became the Colts owner in 1997 after the death of his father, Robert Irsay, and a lengthy legal battle with his father’s second wife. Forbes magazine has estimated Irsay’s net worth at $US1.6 billion ($A1.73 billion).

Contador takes Tour of Spain lead

Two-time Tour of Spain winner Alberto Contador has taken the overall lead in this year’s edition as German Tony Martin won the 10th stage, a 36.

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7-kilometre time-trial.

Contador, 31 and who finished fourth, 39 seconds slower than triple time-trial world champion Martin, replaced Colombian rider Nairo Quintana in the overall leader’s red jersey.

For Contador it represents quite a comeback after, like Chris Froome, he failed to finish the Tour de France because of injury, in his case a broken tibia.

“Nobody could have imagined that I would be in red today, it is an enormous surprise,” the Tinkoff team leader told Spanish TV station TVE.

“As a result of that I really believe I can win.”

Quintana, who took a three-second lead on Sunday, came to grief when he fell after a dozen kilometres, as he was bending down to fiddle with his right shoe, and lost more than three minutes to Contador.

Quintana, bidding for a second Grand Tour win this season having won the Tour of Italy, limited the damage somewhat in the remainder of the stage and lies in 11th spot.

“It seems at first sight that I have only grazes,” said Quintana on crossing the line.

“We will see tomorrow how I feel. My objective in this Tour after all is to help Alejandro Valverde and we will see in the mountains if I can do something for him.”

Contador, winner of the Vuelta in 2008 and 2012, extended his lead over all his major rivals for overall victory as he was 21sec faster than compatriot Valverde and 53sec quicker than Britain’s 2013 Tour de France winner Froome, who failed to fire even though on paper he was the best of the time-triallists amongst the race favourites.

Meanwhile, Cadel Evans was the highest finishing Australian in the stage, coming in sixth, 49sec behind Martin.

Adam Hansen is the highest Australian in the general classification, in 42nd, 22.15 behind Contador.