Beauty pageants can be contentious (and we’re not just referring to the time that a certain TV host crowned the wrong Miss Universe winner on national television). They can be contentious because some women see them as a product of a patriarchal society—a place where a panel and audience pits women against other women. On the flip side, though, some women argue that pageants are feminist undertakings. The winner isn’t crowned based on physical appearance. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Some pageants emphasize talent, knowledge, personality, ambition, and other critical, less superficial qualities.
Whatever your perspective is, we’re guessing you’ll like the latest pageant news. According to Glamour, contestants in the Miss Peru competition took an opportunity to use their platform for good. Instead of sharing their physical measurements at a certain point in the competition, as is the traditional practice, they shared something much more relevant and much more pressing: statistics on the rampant violence against women happening in their home country.
The contestants clearly set out to make a point. Each woman stepped up to the microphone, one by one, to confidently and brazenly share a unique statistic on femicide and/or violence against women. One contestant said, “My name is Camila Canicoba, and I represent the department of Lima. My measurements are: 2202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country.” Another shared, “My name is Melina Machuca, I represent the department of Cajamarca, and my measurements are: more than 80% of women in my city suffer from violence.”
Believe it or not, this amazing pageant upheaval was thoroughly encouraged by the pageant’s organizer, Jessica Newton. “Everyone who does not denounce and everyone who does not do something to stop this is an accomplice,” Newton said.
The violence and mistreatment of women are definitely not exclusive to the country of Peru, although it is a startlingly widespread issue there. We commend the Miss Peru pageant contestants for bringing awareness to the issue through stunning (albeit depressing) statistics. Any platform is a good platform to confront issues like these, and these pageant contestants have inspired us, even through something as seemingly simple as reporting public statistics. They prove there's room for tough dialogue in any situation. How's that for activism?
Head over to Glamour to read the full story. Then, read what the latest changes to the ACA mean for birth control access.