Beauty Pageant Flips the Script

Beauty pageants can be a contentious topic for women and feminism. Most of these events tend to focus on unrealistic and Eurocentric beauty standards and have become an outdated way of classifying a woman’s worth by her body alone. The question portion gives the women a very short time span to speak about solving the complicated problems of the world, while the majority of the pageant is spent on body measurements and swim suits. The popularity of beauty pageants persists however; and while their superficiality can be criticized, this year’s Miss Peru pageant has flipped the script and used its platform to speak about something that truly needs our attention.

The planned protest began when the contestants used their introductions, where they would regularly list their measurements, to list statistics about femicide and violence against girls and women. One by the one the 23 women marched up to the microphone and stated some of the horrific facts of the treatment of women that plagues Peru. One contestant stated, “My name is Karen Cueto. My measurements are 82 femicides and 156 attempts this year so far.” The moment helped to paint how real and how pervasive this type of violence is in the country. Just last August, more than 50,000 Peruvian women joined the Ni Una Menos demonstrations that have sparked conversations about violence against women.

The protest helped put the conversation back on a national scale. A much needed one in a country where more than 50 percent of women will experience some form of severe domestic violence in their lifetime. While the protest was met with divisive responses, as most of these issues are, the subversion seen in that moment was so important for the country to watch. To use this platform to talk about issues that impact women to such an extent, to flip the script on what it means to be a beauty queen, shows the multidimensional force of women; the power of what we can do to help create a safer and better world.

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