|A Chivilcoy beauty contest Photo: http://www.dechivilcoy.com.ar
A town in Argentina has become the first in the country to ban beauty pageants, passing a new ruling which will see the annual contests replaced by awards for those who have contributed the most to their community.
Chivilcoy, a soya farming town of 60,000 people in Buenos Aires province, 100 miles east of the capital, passed the ruling unanimously.
"These beauty contests between girls, teenagers and young women reinforces the idea that women should only be valued and prized for their physical appearance," the text of the new ruling stated.
It said that the pageants, popular across South America, were based on "stereotypes, promoting in many cases an obsession with body shape and a physical ideal which can never be achieved."
The politicians who approved the ban added that such tournaments encouraged eating disorders such as bullemia and anorexia.
"Beauty is not quantifiable. Therefore, to qualify and organise a competition based on this is discriminatory and violent," they said.
They said that from now on, the pageants will be replaced by a competition for women aged 15 to 30, to assess who has contributed the most to their community