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Miss Mexico Tones Down Controversial Pageant Dress

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Aired 4/19/09

Miss Mexico will tone down the dress she wears to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant. The dress has caused outrage. The designers are headed back to the drawing board. KPBS Reporter Amy Isackson has more.

The floor length dress shows Catholic rebels hanging from posts. There's a man facing a firing squad. The gown is adorned with a bullet studded belt. The scene is based on a bloody religious war between Catholic rebels and the Mexican government in the 1920s. The designers who selected the dress say it represents the nation's culture and history.

Guillermo Alonzo directs cultural studies at Tijuana's Colef Institute. He says the dress tells only a partial story.

Alonzo says there were victims on both sides. It’s like a faction bringing up the American Civil War but only telling half the story. Alonzo says the images of hanged bodies have also riled many people given Mexico's drug war. More than 600 people have been tortured and killed in drug turf battles since January.

Alonzo says he's all for freedom of expression. But a dress design that expresses a desire for peace may be more appropriate.

Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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