Recently I came upon this Vogue post and a slew of other content written about the Miss Peru 2018 pageant. The event made a splash on newsstands because instead of telling the judges, the audience and in essence the world what their measurements were, each beauty contestant listed some terrifying gender violence statistics from their home region. “Bravo!” everyone has said, “What a way to make a statement!”
Now we all know pageants are outdated anti-feminist circuses but apparently they can now be used as a voice for change. Really? Well I would like to take a step back. Let us gently rewind to the part where we find out what normally happens at lovely Miss Peru. The beauty contestants smilingly tell the world their measurements. THEIR MEASUREMENTS! Chest, hips, waist, etc. Are these people serious? How about they tell the world what subjects they took at university? What charity work they do and where you can donate? Maybe discuss how great it is that they can speak 5 languages rather than the importance of their hips in inches?
I do of course realise that there are portions of the pageant where they answer serious questions. Where they demonstrate talent, intelligence, empathy, etc etc. Having met some beauty pageant contestants in my lifetime I can say without a doubt that these are hardworking, clever girls who, having been genetically blessed, are using the system as much as its using them. But in a scary world where Harvey Weinstein episodes are the norm is a beauty pageant really the best way to be getting that attention? Could it maybe be a bit of a marketing ploy on behalf of pageant organisers to re-harness some lost media space?
I guess any platform that makes the world sit up and start talking is a positive one, but then I have to ask – at what cost? We’re still oggling and judging barbie dolls strutting stages in stripper heels and sparkly dresses. Apart from listing statistics, the Miss Peru contestants still showcased their bodies in hideous gold bikinis, gazing into the camera like they wanted to eat it. Real 2017 role models? I think not.
Is that two minutes of talking worth the remaining two hours of plastic smiles and hairspray? Granted in the final round the contestants were asked for their thoughts on the best way to combat femicide and violence against women, sadly not something that received the same amount of attention. I’m not quite sure why…
Are we teaching our girls that we can make statements but still be subjected to the world’s view of how we should look and what we need to measure? Surely there must be a better way? I don’t know what it is – I sincerely wish I had more answers. I suppose asking questions is a step in the right direction?
So again I ask – is this the only way us women can move forward? Oh the irony…
images: they all hate us / pinterest