Can All Beauty Pageants Please Be More like Miss Peru 2017?

The contestants turned the tables on dating questioning and delivered an important message instead

En breves minutos estaremos vivo para la web del @elcomercio junto a nuestra Miss Perú 2018 @romilozano #MissPeru2018 #ElComercio

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Instead of sharing their body measurements with judges, badass contestants in the Miss Peru 2017 beauty pageant shared more important information—stats about violence against women.

On Sunday, women participating in the competition refused to give their bust, waist and hips measurements—which apparently is still a thing even though it’s two-thousand-and-freaking-seventeen—when they introduced themselves, and instead each listed off a stat on the realities of gender-based violence in Peru, highlighting the magnitude of the issue in the South American nation. 

“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,” one contestant said.

“My measurements are: more than 70 percent of women in our country are victims of street harassment,” said Juana Acevedo.

Romina Lozano, the winner of the pageant, stated, “I represent the constitutional province of Callao, and my measurements are: 3,114 women victims of trafficking up until 2014.”

Behind the women on stage was a large screen showing photos of women’s battered faces and newspaper clippings about gender-based crimes. An organizer of the pageant, Jessica Newton, told BuzzFeed that she was inspired to dedicate this year’s event to violence against women to help empower females who face this reality.

“Everyone who does not denounce and everyone who does not do something to stop this is an accomplice,” Newton told BuzzFeed.

Outrage over violence against women has grown in Peru in recent years after a graphic video was uploaded to YouTube in 2015 showing a naked man dragging his girlfriend across a hotel floor by the hair. The man didn’t receive any jail time for the assault and protests have been taking place since.

The decision to not only reject pageantry’s dated criteria, but also shed light on Peru’s domestic violence crisis required serious smarts and chutzpah, two qualities that pageants should do more to celebrate.

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