The governor of Antioquia, a department in the northwest of Colombia, banned beauty pageants and fashion shows from schools Friday, claiming “school is for studying, not for runways.”
The new law is based upon the state’s obligation to protect children and adolescents from discrimination. Furthermore, educational institutes should promote, enhance and reward intellectual skills, sports talents and artistic works, according to governor Sergio Fajardo.
The decision has caused great controversy among representatives of the fashion industry who say the ban conveys the image that fashion shows are “discriminatory, humiliating and an affront to the dignity of women.”
The governor assured the new law “does not stigmatize fashion.” Female students can still go on to work in fashion and design but runways and beauty contests don’t have any space in school, explained Fajardo.
“It’s not to say that women can’t be both beautiful and intelligent, of course they can! But we are sending the message that we are committed to talent and in schools we develop the capacities of all people,” added Fajardo.
After taking office in January, the Antioquia governor has changed his department’s slogan to “The Most Educated” and focused his policies on improving education.
Antioquia, particularly its capital Medellin, is considered one of the main centers of Colombia’s fashion industry.