We recently learned that in Paraguay, there is a pageant for plus size women called “Miss Gordita“, which is a term of endearment in Spanish (for most people), meaning “cute/pretty chubby girl“.
And the crowned winner acts as an ambassador for those people who are discriminated against because of their size. So, of course, we wanted to know more about this competition that sounds like a wonderful way to show beauty at any size and fight for size acceptance.
What we found out:
Contestants have to weigh 190 pounds and up to qualify for a spot in the competition.
The selected contestants are taught to walk a runway, apply their make-up professionally, and also have sessions with a nutritionist and a psychologist. They are selected about 4 months prior to the pageant.
This year’s pageant was the fourth one — it happens annually.
There’s three sections to the pageant: casual wear, evening wear and swimwear.
Contestants and organizers see the pageant as a way to fight discrimination against overweight people (women in particular).
In a country of seven million people, where according to Paraguay’s Ministry of Health, 57% of the population is considered obese, the event’s organizer Michael Beras described Paraguay as a country of contradictions in an interview last year with EFE News Agency:
“It’s not easy to celebrate Miss Gordita. Paraguay is contradictory, there are many women and men who suffer from obesity, but they’re discriminated against.”
Beras said he believes that beauty pageants can bring attention to those groups of people who experience discrimination and help others to be more accepting of them. He also believes that these competitions will help plus size women gain more self-esteem.
He told EFE right before this year’s pageant:
“We want to generate a change of attitude and posture as well as promote stronger healthier lifestyles focusing on exercise and good nutrition.”
The crowned winner receives one year of consultations with a nutritionist, a gym membership and clothing.
In 2013, when the pageant was televised on Paraguayan TV, it led to a TV program in which participants showed what actions they were taking to lose weight. This makes us wonder, what is truly the goal of this pageant as it is sending mixed signals to its participants and the viewers. Is “Miss Gordita” telling women that it’s okay to be plus size or telling them that they have to lose weight?
To Beras’ credit, he has the right idea as he also produces pageants for dark-skinned women and tattooed women in an effort to show diversity and fight discrimination.
This pageant is a great opportunity to preach self-love, health at any size, self-esteem and size diversity. The push to lose weight as the main way to get healthier is questionable as living a healthy lifestyle is not just about losing weight but being at a size you are happy and feel good at, from the inside and out.
This year’s winner Raquel Jimenez, a 24-yr-old college sophomore majoring in Chemical Engineering, said in an interview with EFE before she was crowned:
“I think I can be the spokesperson for several women of Paraguay, for more than 57 percent are overweight. These women are not taken into account when it comes to fashion, don’t have clothes available to them, or they are very expensive. It is as if we don’t have a right to live or look good.”
“Like many others, I was trained not to love myself. I tried and failed to recognize me for the simple fact of being obese or overweight.”
What do you think? We would love to know your opinion on the Miss Gordita pageant. Please leave us a comment below and let us know!