Beauty pageants are not without controversy. The contestants, venues, ridiculous talent portions and shimmering gowns may change but there is usually some issue. The latest pageant controversy has to do with a kid’s swimsuit competition at a mall in Managua, Nicaragua. After an outrage on social media, the mall has cancelled the event.
Plaza Inter, Nicaragua’s oldest modern shopping mall, was supposed to have their annual kiddie swimsuit competition this past Saturday, according to Fusion. The pageant has 6-10 year old girls compete against each other wearing swimsuits as they walk down the runway. After an uproar on the mall’s Facebook page, the shopping mall administrators made the decision to cancel the pageant. Some people were happy with the decision but others wanted more to be done. A local organization, Quincho Barrilete Association, launched a social media campaign that encouraged the government to denounce the contest and say that is a violation of the girls’ “psychological and emotional integrity.”
Fusion reported that the Ministry Of The Interior did sent a letter to the mall stating a few laws they could be breaking by holding the competition. This was the first time the government commented on the pageant, which has taken place for 8 years.
Plaza Inter opted to cancel the pageant though they believe that the pageant is not sexual or exploitative. Miriam Garcia from Plaza Inter stated, “This is not prostitution, it’s just family entertainment.” She pointed out that the pageant has taken place many times before and this is the first time there was an issue. She believes the beauty pageant falls into the same category as the shopping mall’s Halloween costume contest and singing competitions.
Beauty pageants featuring young girls isn’t uncommon in Latin America or elsewhere. Just look at an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras. However that doesn’t mean that they should be acceptable. Having very young girls be judged on their looks and ability to strut down a runway isn’t sending kid’s a body positive message. It’s worse when the girls are critiqued in swimsuits. Just because the pageant has taken place a number of times doesn’t meant that is acceptable. It is great that a social media campaign has had such an impact and gotten the government to take action. This shows how social media can be used as an effective tool to help create real, positive change.
(Photo: Quincho Barrilete Association via Fusion)