Uganda is a beautiful country which offers plenty of awe-inspiring travel adventures — from rafting the river Nile to exploring Africa’s tallest mountain range, the Rwenzoris, and tracking mountain gorillas in misty forests.
But Uganda’s tourism minister believes showcasing women’s bodies may be the best way to draw in more visitors.
At an event in the country’s capital, Kampala, Godfrey Kiwanda unveiled his “Miss Curvy Uganda” beauty pageant to promote “women’s curves” as a tourist attraction. Now he is facing intense backlash.
“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?” he told the audience, as reported by local news site Daily Monitor.
The pageant is open to women ages 18 to 35 and finalists will be selected in June.
Tourism is no doubt one of the biggest industries in the East African nation, netting about $1.4 billion in 2018. But marketing local women’s bodies to pull in more tourist dollars has been slammed by many as derogatory.
“Women are not a tourist attraction,” MP Winnie Kizza told the Daily Monitor. “They are not an object for pleasure. They are not a money-minting project.”
Ritah Aciro, executive director of Uganda Women’s Network, called the gimmick “backward.”
“That is backward, barbaric and abuse of women’s rights,” Aciro said.
“Do you think tourists come here for women? That is portraying Uganda in a myopic way. Whoever said it should apologize to the women, they are mothers.”
The unconventional strategy has also been condemned by the country’s Christian church.
But pageant organizers insist that their competition celebrates the country’s diversity and beauty.
“Miss Curvy is an event that will bring out the endowment of the real African woman,” said Ann Mungoma, the pageant’s lead organizer.
“It is an exceptional event that will see young ladies showcase their beautiful curves and intellect.”
SOURCE: NEWYORK POST