Miss Peru 2018 Takes a Surprising Turn

Alejandra Nogueira, Reporter

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Beauty pageants have been occurring for decades and always manage to stir controversy; however, contestants of Miss Peru 2018 left audience members shocked when they were asked for their measurements. Instead of offering typical answers, the women sent a message against violence against women in Peru.

“My measurements are 2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country,” contestant Camila Canicoba stated at Miss Peru 2018, the contest that would decide who would represent Peru at the annual Miss Universe pageant.

Many were startled by the use of the word “femicide,” which was recently coined in Latin American newspapers because of the abundant murders of women by men in past years, but the word does put a serious problem in perspective for the country. According to America’s Quarterly, seven Latin American countries score among the worst 10 nations when measuring the rate of femicide per one million women in 40 countries. In Peru, physical violence affects 47 percent of women.

Another woman of the 23 contestants, Luciana Fernandez, said, “My measurements are 13,000 girls suffer from sexual abuse in our country.”

All the statistics used were provided by the Ministry of Women and Vulnerable Populations and the company that aired the show completely backed the protest for anti-violence. Although there was a generally positive reaction, many were uncertain on the use of a beauty pageant as a political platform.

“There’s a stigma with pageant girls just being pretty and having nothing else going for them, but a lot of them are genuinely smart and caring people,” junior Gabriela Perez said. “The pageant really broke out of the mold by speaking out against injustices done to women and it shows something really nice about humanity.”

According to National Public Radio,  Luciana Olivares, content and strategy manager of Frecuencia Latina, the TV network that broadcast the competition, stated, “We decided that we had the opportunity to turn the pageant around and use it as a platform to mobilize, raise awareness and speak up. We knew the whole country would be watching.”

“I think that it is very important that they talked about sexual abuse and other issues as they raised more awareness for those who watched the event,” said sophomore Jorge Carmona.

After the show aired, a hashtag promptly followed. #MisMedidasSon trended around the world and sparked heated debates about Latin American women experiencing violence, which greatly contrasted to more superficial topics usually covered during and after beauty pageants.

This movement by the women also sparked conversation in the United States, after many sexual abuse accusations were issued in Hollywood. On Oct. 5, several scandals emerged around Harvey Weinstein assaulting many women over several decades, which eventually led to his wife filing for divorce. In another case, Kevin Spacey, famous for his role in Netflix’s “House of Cards,” has had his show suspended indefinitely after several men came forward accusing Spacey of sexual assault.

With many victims finally speaking up, whether against the violence in their own nations or against Hollywood A-listers, it is a good step towards ending sexual violence around the world.

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