On October 29, the 23 contestants for the title of Miss Peru introduced themselves to the pageant’s audience. Traditionally, they would say their name, the state they represent, and their measurements.
Sunday’s televised contest was different. Instead of their bust, waist, and hip measurements, the contestants recited statistics about violence against women in their country.
“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 Melina Machuca, I represent the department of Cajamarca, and my measurements are: more than 80% of women in my city suffer from violence.”
“My name is Bélgica Guerra and I represent Chincha. My measurements are: the 65% of university women who are assaulted by their partners.”
“My name is Romina Lozano and I represent the constitutional province of Callao, and my measurements are: 3,114 women victims of trafficking up until 2014.”
Las participantes de Miss Perú hicieron algo inesperado cuando les preguntaron sus medidas. pic.twitter.com/XrV8DXM22l
— AJ+ Español (@ajplusespanol) October 31, 2017
“There is no beauty to these figures, it’s the opposite. The idea is to attract attention, find a contrast, and get people to react,” explained Luciana Olivares to CNN en Español. Olivares acts as Strategy and Content Manager of Latina (the channel which officially broadcasts the pageant), and is one of the authors if this campaign.
During the bathing suit segment, the organizers displayed newspaper clippings of prominent cases of murdered and assaulted women. Jessica Newton, the pageant’s organizer and former beauty queen, defended this segment as an opportunity to emphasize that women deserve respect regardless of what they’re wearing.
“Women can walk out naked if they want to. Naked. It’s a personal decision,” Newton told Buzzfeed. “If I walk out in a bathing suit I am just as decent as a woman who walks out in an evening dress.”
Gender violence is a problem that extends beyond Peru. The movement #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less) has been gaining strength across Latin America, where women have taken to the streets to demand an end to this injustice.
“These competitions focus on many stereotypes about women and judge them by their physical characteristics, but they impact a broad group of women and men that we [feminist groups] do not reach,” stated Susana Chavez, director of Promsex, a gender rights organization in Peru.
“Now, nobody can be indifferent to the level of violence.”