Video Of Beauty Queens Talking Violence Against Women Mid-Pageant Is Inspiring AF
A very powerful thing happened during the Miss Peru beauty pageant on Oct. 29. The ceremony bucked the tradition of having each woman state their measurements, and instead allowed every single contestant to deliver an important, public service message. And the video of beauty queens talking about violence against women in Peru was all kinds of inspiring, and I'm currently sending so, so many snaps to those contestants.
For those of you unfamiliar with the whole pageant process, contestants will sometimes be asked to step forward and state their bust, waist, and hip measurements. Only this time, these beauty queens were broadcasting some very different — and far, far more serious — facts and figures (h/t to Buzzfeed for the translations).
The women discussed sexual violence and harassment in Peru, and the stats are completely staggering.
Here's just a few of them:
You can watch the statistics (in Spanish) beginning at about the 3:40 mark in the below video.
Jessica Newton, the pageant’s organizer, told Buzzfeed News that the 2018 Miss Peru competition was designed specifically around addressing gender violence.
“Everyone who does not denounce and everyone who does not do something to stop this is an accomplice,” Newton explained.
Between 2009 and 2015, more than 700 women were killed in Peru as the result of femicide, a term used to describe domestic violence and sex-based crimes, according to Human Rights Watch. In 2017, reports of gender violence leaped 26% between January and April, per Tele Sur.
The Miss Peru pageant screened images of women who had been killed or assaulted in Peru, and the closing Q&A of the night asked each beauty queen how they would change or strengthen laws to protect women.
The Leslie Shaw song "Always Stronger," written about domestic violence, played as the finalists walked for the bikini portion of the evening.
This isn't the first time that Peruvians have stood up against this trend of violence.
In Aug. 2016, more than 50,000 women's rights activists took to the streets of Lima to protest the country's problem with femicide, sexual harassment, and assault, The Guardian reported.
“This march is a cry against impunity, it’s a cry for equality and for the decent treatment of women,” Ana María Romero, Peru’s minister for women, told The Guardian. “It will be a milestone, it will mark a before and after. There’s more citizen awareness about women’s rights.”
Romero noted that, as of 2016, an average of 10 women are murdered every month in Peru. She said,
The protest followed a string of 2016 sister marches in Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, and Argentina called #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less). Their slogan was “Ni una mujer menos, ni una muerte más (Not one woman less, not one more death)."
These marches sparked some important conversations.
Victoria, a participant in the Argentinian protest, told North American Congress on Latin America,
Another participant added, “I was surprised by many men who expressed their concern about these issues from I think a feminist perspective.”
Here's hoping that all of these incredible, brave moments of activism start to spark some crucial change, and not just in Latin America.