Ugandan minister of tourism Godfrey Kiwanda announced that curvy women will be joining language and food as a tourist attraction, reports Al Jazeera.
He made the declaration as part of Uganda’s tulambule (let's explore) tourism initiative in Kampala on Wednesday; where he also launched a beauty pageant ‘Miss Curvy’ which is where voluptuous women will be selected in June.
The ministry is hoping full-figured women can be used to promote tourism in the country. This comes after Uganda was ranked 12th in New York Times best sellers '1000 places to see before you die.
“We have naturally endowed nice looking women that are amazing to look at. Why don’t we use these people as a strategy to promote our tourism industry?” the minister was quoted in the newspaper.
She adds that the initiative addresses the astounding lack of diversity in mainstream pageants, where only slim women are appreciated.
“Miss Curvy will bring out the endowment of the real African women,” she commented.
There are Twitter users who share her sentiments, highlighting that for the longest time, only slim women have been reigning as beauty queens.
For centuries we've had beauty pageants and fashion shows that require, among other things, ladies of a slender build. And no one batted an eye.— M I K E© (@mikemuhima) February 7, 2019
Now someone is trying to give a similar opportunity to plus size ladies and all of a sudden it's sexist? Talk about double standards?? https://t.co/JB6LqBDokY
If you can accept slim beauty queens to market your tourism and celebrate the contests like miss Uganda and miss world ,you certainly can accept miss curvy too let's cut the hypocrisy— Sabiti Joseph (@sabitijoseph) February 7, 2019
However, the initiative has also been met with backlash and a petition has been launched to have the pageant cancelled.
We totally condemn the continued repression of women rights by @KiwandaSsuubi who is a sexist and is objectifying women of Uganda by considering them freak show tourist attractions like Sarah Baartman in the 19th Century. #WomenNotSexObjects pic.twitter.com/lgkwHTu5Mm— Uganda Feminist Forum (UFF) (@UgFeministForum) February 7, 2019
#Uganda NATIONAL NEWS, ??— Ritah Kase ? (@asiimireritah) February 6, 2019
1. Will these tourists come see and go?
2. Will they see & pay?
3. Will they see, touch&feel these curves?
4. How much are we looking at anyway?
5. Who will they pay to?
6. Will it reflect in their Visas tht they came to see curves? pic.twitter.com/bSM8niKya3
Non-governmental organisation, Uganda Women's Network has gone on Capital FM Uganda to call for the ministers' resignation, saying he is trying to use women to sell the country.
Uganda Women's Network demand for Minister Kiwanda's resignation due to his infamous plan to use Ugandan Women as a new Tourism product in a Curvy & Sexy beauty pageantry.— Capital FM Uganda (@CapitalFMUganda) February 7, 2019
What do you make of this? Share your thoughts using the hashtag #GaetanoAndLucky. pic.twitter.com/grFtyPvpgX
Ugandan activist Primrose Nyonyozi Murungi took to Facebook to express her disappointment. " This video makes me cringe," she said.
"They bought mineral water and soda for the meeting, they even had lunch while talking about this brilliant idea. And guess what, no one said this is objectification of women," she added.
The 'Miss Curvy' Facebook page has since released a statement clarifying the minister's comments.
Whether this was an attempt to objectify or empower full-figured women, the female body is yet again, objectified and women stigmatised.
How about we fight for women to be valued as more than just bodies for the male gaze.
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