True stories: Best Undressed
The title of this documentary broadcast on Channel 4 refers to a behind the scenes look at Miss Nude Australia. Away from the titillating trailer and the obvious political correctness issues it was a light hearted and witty programme.
The contestants seemed to be completely at ease standing around naked, walking up and down naked, being interviewed naked and generally being nude in public.
The organisers, a motley crew of face lifts gender issues and soft-sleaze were right about one thing when they explained the reasoning behind the competition (never feeling that they needed to justify it); it is not an erotic experience. Far from it, it came across like just another beauty contest. The difference being that the women involved seemed to by and large enjoy it and all had sound business brains;, seeing the contest as a route to earn more money. There was no clichéd talk of saving the starving or educating the impoverished.
Ideas of culture are a strange thing and they differ throughout the world. Australians (rightly or wrongly) are not noted for their cultural acumen and this programme did little to counter that view; what it did do was show that the women involved held the power. They were not being exploited and the rights and wrongs of the concept are far too complex to go into here, but the programme was that thing that good documentarians can deliver from time to time; interesting, witty and enlightening. The contest itself is like Miss World without the pretensions. The contestants and there family full humour, unintentional and otherwise.
Viewers tuning in for some sort of arousal would have been disappointed. In the end the contestants came across more like jolly naturists than objects of erotic desire.