Beauty pageants, rightfully, get a bad rap. From being outdated to reinforcing Eurocentric beauty ideals to the way the question portion (where they are asked to solve incredibly difficult issues in a short amount of time) is designed to set the contestants up for failure, there’s plenty to criticize. But on Miss Perú 2018, the 23 contestants unexpectedly used their platform to speak about femicide in the South American country, a subversive act you might not associate with pageants.
When the women introduced themselves, they were supposed to tell the crowd their measurements – a segment that invites scrutiny of their bodies. Instead, one by one, they rattled off facts about a pervasive problem in their country. “My name is Camila Canicoba,” one contestant said. “And I represent Lima. My measurements are 2,202 cases of femicides reported in the last nine years in my country.” Another contestant followed her up by saying, “My name is Karen Cueto. My measurements are 82 femicides and 156 attempts this year so far.”
The women continued until they presented a heartbreaking and expansive picture of how femicides have affected the country. Just like in others countries in Latin America, Peru has joined the Ni Una Menos campaign. With “Ni una menos, ni una muerta mas,” the late Mexican poet Susana Chávez penned the words that would become a rallying cry across Latin America. After the deaths of Daiana García and Chiara Páez, the words were slightly shortened to Ni Una Menos.
On August 13, 2016, more than 50,000 Peruvians joined the Ni Una Menos demonstrations to speak out against violence toward women. In the first five months of 2016, 29 cases of reported femicide were reported. In the same time period, nearly 6,000 women were victims of domestic and sexual violence. But the light sentences given to the men who violently attacked Lady Guillén, Arlette Contreras, and the late Marielena Chumbimune really set the protests in motion, according to Peru21.
Earlier this month, Maritza García made detestable comments about women provoking femicide. She renounced her position as president of the Comisión de la Mujer days after the comments. With Miss Perú 2018, the contestants put the issue on a national platform once again. Check out the video below:
Las participantes de Miss Perú hicieron algo inesperado cuando les preguntaron sus medidas. pic.twitter.com/XrV8DXM22l
— AJ+ Español (@ajplusespanol) October 31, 2017
H/T El Comercio