Sunday, 17 November, 2019

Ugandan feminists say beauty competition is promoting sex tourism

Msalame Msalame
Patty Aguilar | 08 February, 2019, 13:04

While endorsing the campaign, Kiwanda said: "We have naturally endowed nice looking women that are awesome to look at". Their beauty is unique and diverse. "I do not like the idea that we are marketing our women for tourism".

Some Ugandans on social media argued the beauty contest would help to challenge the Western stereotype that only slim women are lovely, saying the pageant celebrated the diversity of all body shapes, including those of African women.

Ugandan women were outraged at the proposal and have called for Kiwanda's resignation.

Rita Aciro, executive director of the Uganda Women's Network, told AFP: 'This is perversion. "That is idolising women as objects; like how you look at objects that's how they will look at women".

An online petition to stop the campaign was also launched by Ugandan entrepreneur and activist Primrose Nyonyozi Murungi.

"Women in Uganda have been attacked while on the streets".

Curvaceous women is the latest attraction the ministry hopes will increase revenue earnings.

She demanded that the contest is taken down and that the minister offers a public apology for coming up with such an initiative.

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Ms Mungoma said since most pageants celebrate slender and pretty faces which are a more western way of defining beauty, most African women are uniquely built and this does not make them any less attractive. How many royalties will go to the husbands and relatives of these curvy women? On a scale of 1-10, how stupid is your tourism minister?'

Some people accused Mr Kiwanda of talking about women as though they were zoo animals, with one woman even questioning whether they would be put "in a cage for the tourists to see".

Funmi Oyatogun wrote on Twitter: "Uganda has some of the wildest adrenaline adventures in Africa, the River Nile, game parks, majestic lakes and a huge untapped market for tourism. Why don't we use these people as a strategy to promote our tourism industry?" he said.

He said it would be used to promote tourism in the East African country.

Despite intense criticism, Kiwanda is unmoved and is insisting that his campaign does not demean women in any way.

As part of the campaign, the ministry will also highlight the background stories of the curvaceous women, as well as, the various cultures that the contestants will display.

Tourism is on the rise in Uganda, where most visitors travel to see its wildlife. It has the largest population of gorillas and more species of birds per square kilometre than anywhere else in the world.

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