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The whole world appreciated the Miss Peru Pageant 2017 participants sharing gender violence statistics instead of their measurements. But is it all subversive or just skin-deep?
Recently, the Miss Peru 2017 pageant contestants made headlines when they shared statistics about gender violence in the country (a dismal state of affairs) rather than their vital statistics, as is usually done.
The gesture, obviously, helped highlight the problem of women facing so much violence in the world through a platform which has a very wide reach. To draw attention to something that has been normalised to such an extreme extent is a tough job, and only something startling can work. Which is kind of funny because the numbers are startling in themselves, but it only takes something like this for people to pay any attention to them.
However, I come to another important question here: does triggering a wave on social media with infinite articles being written about it make a difference? It might. And that is all the hope we have.
BUT, here comes a less attractive side of this supposed act of subversion. The platform is a beauty pageant, a place where women are chosen for their appearance and physical features only. How inclusive can such a platform be then? I am not condemning their existence but it is something that should be pondered upon.
Writer Regina Limo’s words echo this in an article by npr.org,
“I have truly mixed feelings about this,” says Regina Limo, a feminist columnist at the popular site utero.pe. She thought it was a positive step to offer up the statistics on national TV but was conflicted over the pageant, which she says is usually a “superficial” event that reinforces unrealistic social expectations that burden women.
Speaking of the many women who die in gender-based violence, Limo adds, “They are saying ‘Hey, there are thousands of dead women’ but these women didn’t die by themselves.” She believes that the conversation must focus on who killed them and why they died, not just on statistics.”
Apart from what she says, it is also worth thinking of, that such pageants only include women of a specific body type, which doesn’t really spell out women empowerment in its premise. I repeat, I am not condemning their actions but some analysis has to be made behind what the intentions are – because sometimes, women empowerment is only a mask that commercial modes of entertainment use to grab attention to them.
Watch this video below, and let us know what you think about this issue, below!
Image is a screen grab from this video