Peruvians were startled as the most-awaited pageant of the year became an unexpected protest against violence towards women.
It was that part of the show where the contestants flaunt on stage — wearing gold cocktail dresses — and confidently say their bust, waist, and hip measurements. Instead, these 23 ladies valiantly skipped saying the traditional statement and pointed out staggering facts about gender brutality in the South-American country.
Here are the chilling statements given by the contestants:
“My name is Camila Canicoba and I represent the department of Lima. My measurements are 2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country.”
“My name is Juana Acevedo and my measurements are: More than 70% of women in our country are victims of street harassment.”
“My name is Luciana Fernández and I represent the city of Huánuco, and my measurements are: 13,000 girls suffer sexual abuse in our country.”
“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.”
“Almendra Marroquín here. I represent Cañete, and my measurements are: More than 25% of girls and teenagers are abused in their schools.”
Romina Lozano, the eventual winner of the pageant, said “3,114 female victims of trafficking have been registered since 2014” as her measurements.
Meanwhile, during the question-and-answer portion, the candidates were asked how they would combat femicide. The women then walked wearing their bathing suits while newspaper clippings and headlines of crime against women were flashed on a huge screen.
Former beauty queen and pageant organizer, Jessica Newton, told Buzzfeed that the decision to devote this year’s competition to gender-based violence is to empower women. She also explained the bathing-suit segment by clarifying that it is the “opportunity to emphasize that women should be treated with respect regardless of what they are wearing”.
“Women can walk out naked if they want to. Naked. It’s a personal decision,” she said. “If I walk out in a bathing suit I am just as decent as a woman who walks out in an evening dress.”
More than 50% of Peruvian women will experience severe domestic violence in a lifetime, according to a report by the United Nations.
The hashtag #MisMedidasSon (“#MyMeasurementsAre”) was trending in Perú because of the event.
This year’s Miss Peru shocked not only the nation but the whole world. It is a milestone to see aspiring beauty queens take a stand against gender violence and by using this kind of program to spread awareness of the rising percentage of abused women. Based on the pageant and thousands of posts on social media as a result of the beauty contest, it is clear that women are not backing down and are not willing to be perceived as the inferior sex.