The congressional Gender Equality Commission is moving to ban beauty pageants, seeing them as a form of “symbolic violence” against women.
If the recommended measure becomes law, government entities at all levels, from municipal to federal, would be prohibited from sponsoring such events, and privately sponsored pageants could be canceled.
On Friday morning, participating legislators in the lower house of Congress approved a draft decree to modify and add various provisions to the general law on Women’s Access to a Life Free of Violence.
The commission defines symbolic violence as “the expression, emission or diffusion by any means, whether in the public or private sphere of messages, patterns, stereotypes, signs, iconic values or ideas that transmit, reproduce, or justify the subordination, inequality, discrimination or violence against women.”
The draft decree outlines its objection to beauty pageants by decrying “the holding of contests, elections or any other form of competition in which the beauty or physical appearance of women, girls or adolescents is evaluated in full or in part based on sexist stereotypes.”
“We consider that beauty pageants are an instrument that exposes women through sociocultural patterns and under gender stereotypes and enhances the concept that a woman’s body is an object,” commission president María Wendy Briceño Zuloaga explained. “They limit the personal development of the participants.”
Beauty contests are an integral part of many festivals in Mexico, such as Carnival.