Tuesday, February 17, 2009

So Where’s the Beef?

ht_miss2009_atom_090216_mn We’re all in favor of promoting nuclear energy in creative ways, but we have to admit to mixed feelings about the Miss Atom contest (in Russian).

Russia's nuclear industry has been trying to change all that in recent years, rolling out the annual Miss Atom Beauty Contest. The competition is open only to women who work in the nuclear world and, as the Web site describes, "Miss Atom is the first and only industry-wide, Web-based project for nuclear belles."

The goal of the competition? To show that smart women working with hazardous materials look pretty good when they're not wearing chemical protection suits.

Er, huh? (This bit came from ABC News).

The Russian site has over 200 entrants, all self-submitted, so this plays reasonably well, and anyone can vote. While American industry now shies away from beauty contests as a viable way to promote themselves (and perhaps Russian industries do, too – this is an online effort, run by a portal for nuclear news), it’s not as though Americans are innocent of finding ways to put pretty women in swimsuits. And firemen and such certainly don’t mind showing the results of their gym routines if charity is involved. Miss Atom is a bit retrograde from our perspective, but really, it’s a cultural wash.

Nonetheless, it is a bit disappointing for a country that has gone considerably further then ours in terms of gender equality – at the very least, where’s the beef? We’re sure some of the guys “look pretty good when they're not wearing chemical protection suits.” But maybe that’s another contest.

Needless to say, the competition has received some negative press outside Russia, particularly from those who believe it is sexist and demeaning to female workers. [Ilya] Platonov [the organizer of Miss Atom] vehemently denies such accusations.

As well he might. The Moscow Times has more on Russian beauty contests, including Miss Atom, here. While we hoped for some sociological distinction, you could swap out the local details and publish this story in any American newspaper.

There she is, Miss Atom. There she is, your ideal; With so many beauties; She'll take the town by storm.

1 comment:

djysrv said...

Idaho Samizdat and Fuel Cycle Week, a nuclear industry trade newsletter, are sponsoring a slogan contest for Ms Atom since western women are not allowed to enter the actual event.

Now the reason for this, in terms of history, is that the Soviets are very big on slogans, like "make more tractors for the five year plan," and "deliver both a right and a left shoe the same size in every box." So, without further ado, here are five slogans to get the ball rolling.

* “Miss Atom; putin’ a positive spin on nuclear power”
* “Miss Atom; hotter than a fusion reactor”
* “Miss Atom; fueling excitement in the nuclear industry”
*“Miss Atom; every particle is perfect”
* “Miss Atom; makes electrons spin with just one glance”

You can join in the fun. We are sponsoring a contest for the best slogan to be submitted in lieu of a real live contestant. Readers with advertising copy writing and jingle experience are especially encouraged to enter. You can also just vote for one of the five slogans we've developed on our own.

Send your entries, as many as you like, but put all of them in one email message, to: ajennetta@innuco.com

Like the Miss Atom 2009 contest, voting will be open until March 6. A winner will be announced the same day. The prize will include a 100% digital copy of the photo of the winner if and when it is released to the western press.