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Miss Teen USA axes ‘outdated’ bikini competition with sportswear

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NEW YORK — One of America’s top beauty pageants has axed its swimsuit competition — ditching bikinis for sportswear in a bid to fend off years of complaints that parading in a bikini is sexist and demeaning.

Reactions have been mixed, with some praising the announcement as a step forward, and others noting that both swimwear and sportswear competitions judge competitors on their physical appearance.

Miss Teen USA — open to women aged 14 to 19 — said on its website, “In a society that increasingly prioritises feminism and equality, watching women parade across a stage in bikinis can feel outdated”.

The Miss Universe Organisation, which operates the pageant, said from now on contestants would be judged on athletic wear, in addition to the evening wear and personality competitions.

“Miss Teen USA’s transition to athletic wear reads as less exploitative and more focused on the importance of physical fitness for its younger participants,” it said.

The reform was welcomed by reigning Miss Teen USA Katherine Haik, who called it, “a great way to celebrate the active lives that so many young women lead and set a strong example for our peers”.

The 2016 Miss Teen USA pageant, to be broadcast online, will be held in Las Vegas on July 30.

Each year, a woman from each of the 50 states and one from Washington DC compete for the crown.

Miss Universe was for years owned by billionaire Republican White House candidate Donald Trump. He sold it last year to a talent-management group.

AFP

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US judge dismisses Taylor Swift ‘Shake It Off’ copyright lawsuit

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LOS ANGELES — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing singer Taylor Swift of stealing lyrics for her song ‘Shake It Off’ on Tuesday ruling the phrases in question were not sufficiently original to merit copyright protection.

Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler brought the suit last fall, arguing that the chorus of the song borrowed from their 2001 composition, ‘Playas Gon’ Play’.

In his ruling, Judge Michael W Fitzgerald held that combining the phrases, ‘Playas gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate,’ does not entail sufficient originality to warrant copyright protection, Variety reported.

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Swift’s 2014 song reached No 1 on the pop charts and marked her evolution from country to pop music.

Swift’s lyrics from the chorus of ‘Shake It Off’ are, ‘the players gonna play, play, play, play, play, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.’

Attorneys for Swift asked US District Judge Michael Fitzgerald in January to dismiss the case.

“In order for such short phrases to be protected under the Copyright Act, they must be more creative than the lyrics at issue here,” Fitzgerald ruled, according to court papers.

The songwriters who sued Swift did not allege Swift’s song stole musical elements, the judge said, and phrases about players and haters existed in pop culture before 2001.

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