Mexico’s Oaxaca state banned the use of public funds in beauty pageants after local Congress called such events “symbolic violence” against women.
According to Mexico Daily News, Oaxaca became the first state in Mexico to impose such a ban. The legal change prohibits the use of public funds for beauty pageants such as Miss Universe or Miss World, where the physique of women of any age is assessed. However, it does not prohibit the holding of such events.
El País reported that the initiative to view beauty pageants as symbolic violence against women was promoted by the State Standing Commission for Gender Equality headed by Magaly López.
López, MP for Morena, was also known to fight junk food in her state.
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Oaxaca, Mexico bans the use of public funds in beauty pageants
The law will penalize and impose fines on state and municipal government institutions that allocate funds to beauty pageants, where women and girls are judged on their physical characteristics.
Local Congress agreed that beauty pageants promote sexist and “macho” role models who stigmatize, objectify and downplay the role women play in society.
According to López, the initiative aims to dispel “sexist stereotypes” supported by beauty pageants. She noted that there is a need to change “cultural practices” that harm women.
The said lawsuit will also prevent government institutions from using such beauty pageants to promote tourism or for official publicity.
The southern state of Mexico, Oaxaca, was known to be the center of feminist politics in recent years. In their 2018 election, the Mexico News Daily reported that the state’s Congress had become predominantly female for the first time. In 2019, the state becomes second in decriminalizing abortion before 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Mexico on beauty pageants
The legal change in Oaxaca regarding beauty pageants came after Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies approved a similar measure last February.
The measure also characterized beauty pageants and other appearance-based sexist competitions as symbolic violence against women.
from Mexico lower house approved the addition of a provision to the general law on women’s access to a life free of violence, adopted in 2007. This law aimed to combat gender-based violence.
The bill defines symbolic violence as “the expression, transmission or dissemination by any medium … (of) stereotypical speech, messages or patterns, signs, icons, values and ideas which transmit, reproduce, justify or normalize subordination, discrimination, inequality and violence against women in society. “
If the bill passes the Senate, MP Frida Esparza Márquez told Animal Político that the law would not make beauty pageants illegal, but only prohibit the government from supporting such events in any way.
The Mexican Commission for Gender Equality has recommended that the Mexican Congress ban beauty pageants in 2020.
Beauty contests have been popular in Mexico for several years. In fact, many Mexicans have won crowns or titles in international competitions.
Some of the Mexican women who have won international titles are Vanessa Ponce De Leon as Miss World 2018, Sofia Aragon as 2nd runner-up in Miss Universe 2019 and Andrea Meza who was crowned Miss Universe 2021.
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Written by: Joshua Summers
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