Miss Peru Contestants Leave Audience Speechless

Mariah Wise, Staff Writer

On Sunday October 29th, during the Miss Peru Pageant, participants turned heads during the competition, and not because of their dresses. Miss Peru 1987, Jessica Newton, organized the events this year leading up to and throughout the pageant. She wanted to use the pageant as a platform to talk about women’s issues across Latin America and she did. Throughout the swimsuit, measurement, and interview rounds of the competition, one of Latin America’s most prominent issues, femicide, was brought to light.

Protests have sprung up in Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil in recent years against femicide and violence against women. Femicide results in the death of a woman while violence against women spans from domestic violence to sexual assault and the like, which may or may not result in death.

During the swimsuit portion of Miss Peru’s pageant, as each contestant modeled her suit, pictures of news stories involving the deaths of women cycled behind them; during the measurement section, which is normally reserved for each contestant reciting her waist, bust, and hip measurement to the judges in inches, each contestant began her turn as “my measurements are” and inserted a statistic about femicide, or violence against women, pertaining specifically to their country. The results gave both the judges and the audience pause as this is not a well-known issue to many people. The interview portion of the contest pertained to what each contestant would do to stop femicide if they were to be crowned Miss Peru for the next year. Each contestant had many wonderful ideas, one of the most prominent being to require offenders to go into a registry much like the U.S. does with sex offenders.

The protests and news coverages mostly began in the last 2 years as it was revealed by the Peruvian government that within one year over 96 women were knowingly murdered as a result of femicide or domestic violence. These 96 women are just a fraction of the 2,000+ women reportedly murdered within the last nine years.

While beauty pageants are continually seen as an arbitrary concoction for the media, the Miss Peru pageant is using their platform to protest these issues plaguing their country, as well as others across the world; hopefully this is not the last we will hear of it.