Thursday, November 2, 2017

Miss Manifestante...a blurb

Apparently my beautiful country Peru has gained momentum in its women's movement. The Miss Peru Pageant episode from this last Sunday has impacted the world in its powerful statements on the crimes against the women of my birth home.

The Miss Peru Pageant changed its script. When usually they go on stage and tell their body measurements, the courageous women Camila Canicoba, Luciana Fernandez, Almendra Marroquin, and the 20 other finalists spoke words of truth. Statistics that have been bubbling up inside the minds of every female in the country.
  • 2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years
  • more than 25% of girls and teenagers are abused at school
  • 81% of people who attack young girls are close to the family
  • a girl dies every ten minutes due to sexual exploitation
  • 65% of university women are assaulted by their ex-partners
And those are just five of the 23 finalists who presented their protest in El Theatro Municipal. They begun with this long list of information from the very beginning of the show right after their short intro dance.

"Statistics that impact, right? We don't want a country with more violence," said spokesperson Cristian Rivero. "This night isn't just a night about these 23 women. It's about all the women in our country who have a right and deserve respect. No more violence. This is the message we want to give in this Miss Peru and all of our Peru."

While I was hanging at the gym with my sister and my soulmate on Sunday morning and studying my ass off Sunday night, the other side of the pole was also kicking butt. Although I'm now slacking off and watching TV like a good American girl, at the very least my home country has inspired me to write again. But the thoughts that enter my mind include the acknowledgement that setting up the guts and procedure of how these powerful ladies were going to protest must have taken a lot of hard work. Whereas my dumb procrastination stops me from keeping consistent in my studies. 

Alas, the entire world can only keep stepping on stones of progression in freedom and equality. But Peru has made a bold statement as #2 in South America for their violence against women. Que orgullo por mi paĆ­s. But this pride only endures from the acknowledgement of the statistics and stories heard. 

Family members and friends have suffered. I remember my mom and dad locking the door when male family members slept over the house because it is normal and expected that "81% of people who attack young girls are close to the family." My frustration might also peek through from the time when I got to visit Lima for a grant I wrote in college, and my family members were by my side at every step of my journey. I had wrapped my head around the idea that this would be a chance for self-discovery, emphasis on the "self." But my cousins understood that "more than 70% of the women in Peru are victims of street harassment." 

Then when I visited La Catolica and walked past Kennedy Park in Lima, small protests were sparking the fire for the movement #NiUnaMenos that were inspired by President Fujimori's forced sterilizations in a province in Cusco. 

These protests from the women of Peru and their male allies are powerful and will play a part in the change of the country. When feminism is taught in schools, professors usually mention the four waves of feminism. And while I do think these phases need to include a more global perspective or specify where these phases apply, the steps included in these waves do show a sort of parallelism to Peru. 

A first wave of suffrage applied to the women in London at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Then the second "phase began with protests against the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City in 1968 and 1969" (Four Waves of Feminism). Similar to that, el voto femenino in Peru began in 1956 and this Miss Peru Pageant might be starting its second wave of feminism in the country. 

We're still a long way away. I know of someone who recently was fired from her job in Peru because she became married and pregnant. However, the strong, intelligent women of Peru are making a stand and we're on our way to a more modern, equal home.

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