The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has promised to champion the campaign to correct the misconception surrounding the Miss Curvy beauty contest which has in recent weeks been criticized by activists, MPs and a section of the public.
Kadaga made the commitment Wednesday while meeting with organizers of the beauty pageant who had delivered a petition to the Speaker.
The delegation was led by the Miss Curvy Uganda Uganda CEO, Annie Mungoma who noted that there is a misconception in the public sphere that the contest is aimed at promoting sex tourism which they sought to clear.
“We felt offended during the debate on the floor of the House when some legislators branded our pageant as a sex tourism event. But during the launch of the event, there was no statement relating to that,” Mungoma said.
She told the Speaker of Parliament that the Miss Curvy pageant is the first of its kind in Uganda but it is happening elsewhere around the world. Mungoma said it seeks to recognize Ugandan women who are of plus size so as to enhance their visibility so that society can appreciate them.
This event will among others change the narrative about feminism and pageantry owing to the fact that in the past, beauty has only been viewed through the prism of slim size, she said.
“We thought that plus size women will never have a chance because this is a concept that has changed the mindset of the people. There is another category that we can lay a platform so that they can represent Uganda and be ambassadors of beauty from Uganda,” Mungoma said.
She noted that the contest will help boost the fashion and beauty in the plus size category.
“We want to educate, inspire and empower plus-sized women in various aspects like health, culture, environment and we want these to be ambassadors to fellow women and youth as they develop their esteem,” She added.
“We want to display beauty through size, we want someone who will be an ambassador to tourism because once tourists come to the country, the first thing they encounter is we the people.”
In response, Kadaga noted that it is true that society looks at beauty in one form adding that no class of people should be discriminated against simply because of their size since that is who they are.
“I think there is really no problem with this event, the impression that tourists will come and see the curvy women was a misconception but you have clarified it and I will inform the House because it is your right to represent your country,” Kadaga said.
The Speaker added: “I am satisfied and I will inform the House to clarify on the matter so that every body is at peace.”
The pageant was launched on February 5 at Mestil Hotel in Kampala by State Minister for Tourism, Godfrey Kiwanda Ssuubi alongside Mungoma and other participants. While speaking at the launch, the Minister said the contest would go a long way in promoting tourism as it would shine the spotlight on Uganda’s naturally endowed women.
However, the headlines about the contest sparked an uproar from Ugandans on social media, many questioning its rationale and how exactly it intends to position Uganda as a preferred tourist destination. Others have since called for the contest to be cancelled on morality grounds.