The Chivilcoy City Council has banned beauty pageants, after considering they are “sexist”.
Beauty pageants are a common element in regional festivals around the country, where a ‘queen’ is chosen to represent the town for a year. Women who participate in these beauty contests are usually between 15 and 25 years old, and are made to parade before the judges and the public wearing different outfits, including swimming suits. They are judged on categories such as ‘beauty’, ‘personality’, and ‘poise’.
The city of Chivilcoy, in the province of Buenos Aires, has been the first to ban them. The ordinance approved this week states that these kinds of pageants “reinforce the idea that women must be valued and rewarded exclusively by their physical appearance, based on stereotypes”, they are “a discriminatory and sexist practice”, and “acts of symbolic and institutional violence against women and children.”
Instead, the beauty pageant traditionally carried out as part of the celebrations for the anniversary of the foundation of the city will be replaced by 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 new legislation was put forward by the Gender Secretariat and the Assembly for Children’s Rights of the local branch of the Argentine Workers’ Union (CTA). It was supported by the mayor of Chivilcoy and several NGOs, and passed by the local council by 12 votes and five abstentions out of the 17 local councillors present during the debate.
“It’s a very important achievement,” Claudia Marengo of the local CTA branch told newspaper Página 12. “It has an enormous symbolic value, since the municipal state made the decision, within the framework of this bill, to stop subjecting the women of Chivilcoy to the exhibition, objectification, and selection that beauty pageants imply, with the added bonus that instead they will promote other values that aim at encouraging the construction of citizenry with a gender perspective.”