Protesters stormed the venue of an American-style beauty pageant for university students in London last night and set off stink-bombs. But no major damage was done.
They waved placards, held banners with the words 'we are not objects' and shouted 'we are sick of sexism.'
Police said a total of eight protesters were arrested after they chained the entrance to the Crystal nightclub in London with two bicycle locks, preventing anyone from getting in or out.
The activists termed the event a 'cattle market' and called for it to be banned.
But the contestants themselves, thirteen in all and drawn from universities across London, paraded in front of judges and then answered questions about themselves.
They competed to win one of five titles, which include Miss Photogenic and Miss Friendship.
Arrayed in some dazzling dresses, they felt the protesters were being boorish and out of sync with the times. Nothing degrading in the parade, they maintained.
Winner Susheel Bal, 20, a law student at King's College, said that the protesters had 'ruined' their cause by causing problems at the event.
'I can see where the protesters are coming from, but I think post-feminism is about having the choice,' she said.
'Feminism shouldn't be about burning bras.'
Ruby Buckley, 19, women's officer at London School of Economics, said that Miss University London was an out-of-date concept and had no place in a modern, forward-thinking country.
'We all want to be judged for our intellectual merit, not our bodies,' she said.
'Those girls taking part should know that they are worth more than this.'
But organisers defended the pageant as 'empowering' and 'educational' and denied it was degrading.
Christian Emile, 22, owner of 121 Entertainment, said: 'It brings people together from all the different universities. Feminism is supposed to be about choice for women.
'So they should be allowed to do whatever they want.'
Last year's winner Shiva Jasseb, 26, a dentistry student from King's, judged the event this year.
She said that appearance did not feature highly on the list of what the judges were looking for.
'It's just a bit of fun. It's about students getting their make-up done and putting on a show in front of their friends,' she said.
'I would call myself a feminist. I'm all for women's rights and equality in the workplace but that doesn't mean we can't hold competitions like this.
'We're all training to be lawyers, doctors and dentists - we have career aspirations.'
Beauty contests have attracted controversy ever since the Miss World contest was dropped by British television in the early 1990s following widespread protests.