10 months ago
In the past, beauty pageant contestants were renowned for giving bland, decidedly non-partisan answers to potentially controversial questions. (The movie Miss Congeniality famously mocked this tradition with its “world peace” scene.) But no more.
Just this month, women competing in a Peruvian beauty contest refused to list their body measurements, instead using their time onstage to cite statistics about violence against women.
Shortly after that, a lesbian Filipino contestant received praise after openly speaking about her girlfriend prior to answering an official question.
And this week, Rosie Oliveira, the winner of Brazil’s “oversexed” Miss Bumbum contest—in which the woman with the most aesthetic buttocks takes the crown—walked onto the stage wielding a flag that called for the ouster of the country’s current president, Michel Temer, who is embroiled in a corruption scandal, the The Washington Post reports.
But while there are examples of pageant contestants around the world—including in the U.S.—using the platform to talk politics, it’s especially important to women in South America, the Post notes.
“Although politics have made notable cameos on the American pageant circuit, in South America, where machismo and female objectification is deep-rooted and femicide rates are high, women have co-opted beauty events to send important political statements,” write Kyle Swenson and Samantha Schmidt.
It’s a sentiment that Oliveira agrees with. Taking to her contestant page, the Post translated what she had to say about her “biggest dream.”
“My biggest dream is that politics in Brazil improves, that we can have peace of mind and guarantee health, education and security to all,” Oliveira wrote in Portuguese. “I want to live to see a political reform. I have no children and the country we live in keeps me from this dream. I wish I had children and that they live in a better Brazil than we live today.”
Take a look at Oliveira in the video above.