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See The Mind-Boggling National Costumes of Miss Universe 2012

Contestants honor their homelands with nation-cosplay.

The Miss Universe pageant, held on December 19, was an opportunity for a variety of women to show off their, um, national pride in one of the last great retrograde gender-based spectacles of our time. Whether these nations are proud of their contestants in return, though, probably depends on how those nations feel about banana-headdresses and oyster-thongs.

Miss Switzerland

While some of the national ensembles contestants trotted out were no doubt considered tasteful tributes to the distinguishing features of the countries from whence they came, other contestants were made to look more like festive supervillains in the as-yet-unstaged sequel to Broadway’s Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark. And for some reason Miss Switzerland looks like a bellhop at a Shriners convention and also an old-timey movie usher. Take a surreal trip around the world in the slide show above.

[Images: Reuters}

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