America can learn from the Miss Peru Beauty Pageant

By Isaiah Reynolds , Columnist

Beauty, brains and brutality against women were the focal points of the most recent Miss Peru beauty pageant, as the women participating in the pageant took the opportunity to showcase the forgotten violence running rampant in Peru.

Each participant followed usual pageant procedure by presenting their name, origin and physical measurements. This time, instead of listing off their usual measurements, each woman provided a different number: statistics regarding the awful crimes against Peruvian women.  

This movement, along with #NiUnaMes, “not one more,” and #PeruPaisDeVioladores, “Peru country of rapists,” are social media movements used by Peruvians to push toward recognizing the prevalence of these issues.  

“My measurements are 2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country,” “more than 70 percent of women in our country are victims of street harassment” and “82 femicides and 156 attempts this year so far” were some of the spoken measurements of the participants.

While the contestants presented their introduction, images of women who had been abused were flashed on the screen behind them. This powerful partnership between the participants and organizers can inspire the rest of the world to address such issues.

Much of the rhetoric over the past years has been about designating a time for politics to discuss and bring light to serious issues.  The participants behind the #MisMedidasSon protest set an example by blurring the lines between politics and entertainment.  

Beauty pageants are, fundamentally, a conveyor belt of traditionally attractive women presented to appease the male gaze. The last thing many of the viewers wanted to address was politics. By incorporating these dire political/social issues into the program, it forces the  population of people who would usually ignore the issues to pay attention. Unconventional protests expose unconventional people to the problem.

Not only does this movement provide a domestic wake up call in Peru, but it also draws attention from the American audience, who are conditioned to passively brush off many of the issues occurring in Latin America. After decades of detrimental American intervention in developing Latin American countries that has arguably contributed to the instability of many of these nations, our passive attitude toward the socio-political and economic turmoil that is occurring is a smack in the face to the suffering populations in these countries.  

Protest in unexpected forms is evidently one of the most effective ways to get people to acknowledge and discuss the issue at hand. #MisMedidasSon is a perfect example of using a platform to promote issues and redefining “a time and place” for dealing with injustice.

Isaiah is a sophomore in Media.

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