By Delisa Morris
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina– A small town in Argentina has banned beauty pageants, because they are considered to be sexist. The Chivilcoy council, in the Buenos Aires region, said that the pageants encourage violence against women. The Chivilcoy council further criticized the pageants for emphasizing and focusing on physical beauty. The council also claimed that the beauty pageants concentration on physical image, encourages illnesses like bulimia and anorexia among the pageant contestants.
The Chivilcoy council said the pageants are “a discriminatory and sexist practice”, that “reinforce the idea that women must be valued and rewarded exclusively by their physical appearance, based on stereotypes”.
Beauty pageants were also condemned for being “acts of symbolic and institutional violence against women and children.”
The competitions will instead be replaced with an event recognising “people of between 15 and 30 years who, in an individual or collective way, have stood out in volunteering activities aimed at improving the quality of life in neighbourhoods within the city or the district,” the council said.
Latin American beauty pageant winners often use their pageant experience to build careers in entertainment or television.
Beauty pageant competitions are getting a closer look after Julia Morley, the chairwoman of the Miss World pageant announced that the competition would no longer include a swimsuit round. The swimsuit round was introduced to the competition 63 years ago.
“Miss World should be a spokesperson who can help a community,” said Ms. Wilmer, “She’s more of an ambassador, not a beauty queen. It’s more about the outreach and what a woman could do with a title like Miss World.”
However, everyone does not agree with banning the pageants.
“If the only value is beauty, that’s bad, I don’t identify with that,” said Nadia Cerri, 41, director of Miss World Argentina and a former pageant contestant. But she added that an all-out ban goes too far. “We don’t oblige anybody to take part in the contests,” she said.
Ms. Cerri said that in recent years the Miss World Argentina competition had tried to place greater emphasis on factors besides physical appearance. A winner must perform well in categories such as social responsibility, for which she may be required to show awareness of social issues like sex trafficking in her home province. Contestants must also demonstrate knowledge of general culture, including current events, and exhibit a talent, which can be a skill like acting, singing or painting.
For more information, please see:
The Independent – Town in Argentina bans ‘sexist’ beauty pageants for reinforcing idea ‘women must be valued on physical opinion’ – 25 Dec. 2014
The New York Times – Argentine City Takes Beauty Off Its Pedestal – 22 Dec. 2014
BBC News – Argentina town bans ‘sexist’ beauty competitions – 21 Dec. 2014
Jezebel – Town in Argentina Bans Beauty Pageants; Miss World Bans Bikinis – 21 Dec. 2014
Author: Delisa Morris
Delisa Morris is a Law Student and Master of Science Candidate in Public Relations at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.
She is originally from Chicago, Illinois and completed her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.