A GROUP of beauty queen finalists have hit back at “upsetting” comments made about their looks by users on an internet forum.
Photographs of the final 40 in the Miss West Lothian beauty pageant were recently posted on the event’s website and have since attracted derogatory comments on Hearts fans site Jambos Kickback.
Among the finalists targeted was mother-of-one Jennifer McCrae, a sales assistant who lives in Bathgate.
The 22-year-old said: “I was quite upset by some of the comments because the event is a bit of fun to give girls confidence and this kind of thing just shoots you back down. They have got to grow up, I think they’re being really immature and this is the start of bullying. It’s just wrong.
“They said I didn’t deserve to enter because I’m not pretty enough and if their girlfriend looked like that, they would go and kill themselves. It did make me feel quite upset.
“I was thinking about withdrawing from the competition but my friend convinced me not to. I spoke to my husband about it and I thought, ‘I’m not going to let them ruin it for me’.”
Jennifer, who has a 17-month-old daughter, Olivia, believes such comments, like those posted on the site, can lead to some girls having suicidal thoughts.
“I think that’s how it starts off sometimes – girls don’t think they’re pretty enough and people say things like this to them, and it gets them down even more,” she said.
Many of the posts made on the site’s forum are from anonymous contributors who have not used their name or uploaded a photograph of themselves.
Miss West Lothian organiser Eddie Anderson underlined that it is a charity event, with all money raised going towards the children’s charity River Kids.
He added: “We appreciate there’s an element of banter involved, and I’m sure that the Miss West Lothian girls would have plenty to say if some of these anonymous posters were brave enough to show themselves in the flesh.
“But we’d also ask them to remember that these are young girls and some of the comments can be very hurtful and taken to heart.”
It is understood that some of the comments made about the girls on the Miss West Lothian thread of the forum have since been removed.
However, it’s not the first time that the event’s finalists have attracted criticism from Hearts fans.
Ruth Young, 21, who lives in Bathgate and is one of the 40 finalists, said there were comments on the fans site last year and in 2010.
The Miss West Lothian 2013 final will take place at Grand Central in Livingston on December 5.
The News was unable to contact anyone from Jambos Kickback for comment.