State minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda has defended the controversial Miss Curvy Uganda beauty pageant which he said is aimed at celebrating Uganda’s most curvaceous women.
Since the launch of the pageant at Mestil Hotel on Tuesday, Kiwanda has come under extreme criticism from Ugandan women activists and feminists, who say the pageant is only aimed at objectifying women and will turn Uganda into a sex tourism destination.
“Together with my colleagues of Uganda Women Parliamentary Association, we condemn acts of objectifying and dehumanising women. The minister should have known that women are more than just bodies, and so we should be treated with honour and respect,” said former Leader of Opposition Winnie Kiiza.
But in a statement, Kiwanda says the concept of Miss Curvy Uganda is no different from other beauty pageants that only celebrate slender and slim women. The minister wonders why the same Ugandans, who almost unanimously celebrated the recent achievements of Miss World Africa Quiin Abenakyo, are now against the Miss Curvy Uganda pageant which also rides on the same concept - but this time on more endowed women.
Kiwanda says those criticising the pageant as a form of discrimination against women, “several times we have attended body builder competitions among men in Uganda and world over."
Kiwanda also said the issue of using Ugandan curvaceous women as a tourism product has been misinterpreted, because "tourism starts with people and that Uganda is beyond just animals and its people are the biggest tourism product. That's why we have been voted several times as happiest people in the world and most hospitable.”
He also said in any case, the event is organised by women themselves so it is not a case of men objectifying women.
“The M.D for Miss Curvey Uganda is Mrs. Annie Mungoma”