The Rose of Tralee competition is out-of-date and likely can't be modernised.
That's according to Socialist TD for Cork North-Central Mick Barry, who was debating the merits of the event with Senator Regina Doherty.
Senator Doherty told The Hard Shoulder it is not something she is interested in.
"I don't think I would watch it today because it doesn't hold any attraction to me," she said.
"As a competition, that's the first thing I probably find offensive about it because what are the women actually competing against each other - on what grounds?
"In this day and age, if you are going to have a competition against other females - of a certain age, in a certain category - there has to be goals laid to as to what you're trying to achieve.
"This kind of Lovely Girl competition doesn't quite cut it anymore."
Senator Doherty said the participants themselves are not in dispute.
"They all come on and they have incredible CVs that would put the next person to shame," she said.
"They're incredibly intelligent, smart women.
"This isn't a twee beauty contest, they all have talents that they display with us.
"There's nothing ordinary about the competitors, there's nothing straight forward about the competition.
"I don't know what I would be competing against."
'How can you modernise it?'
Deputy Barry wondered what would people think if it was a men-only competition.
"Can you imagine it? Absolutely not," he said.
"If you had a society that was free of sexism, would you have a competition like the Rose of Tralee?
"They have done things to try and modernise it - I see this year that transgender women will be allowed to compete.
"But it's so old-fashioned and out of date, how can you modernise it?
"It's past its sell-by date for me".
'Make it about their achievements'
Senator Doherty said the competition was originally about connecting the Irish diaspora around the globe, and it should return to that.
"Let's make it about their achievements of bringing culture to south-east Asia or to Ballygobackwards in New York," she said.
"If that was the competition, as to how people were bringing Ireland to every corner of the world, creating culture, making a space for people to be safe and to share our views... that would be something that could maybe fit.
"But even that's kind of old-fashioned," she added.
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