Delegates of the Miss Universe competition have drawn attention to the negative impact of cyber-bullying in a new video campaign.
In the video, the delegates appear one by one to voice their experiences of being cyber-bullied. Insults thrown at the women include comments that they are too fat, too ugly, or too old to be competing for the Miss Universe title.
Miss Universe Cambodia was told that she was “too small” to have a shot of winning the crown, while Miss Universe Barbados said: “I often heard feedback that I didn’t look quite Barbadian enough.”
Cyber-bullies criticized how the women dressed and how they wore their hair. One contestant was even bullied over her dyslexia.
“Having received many hateful comments about my skin color, it’s hurtful and it just shows we have a lot of work to do,” said Miss Universe 2019, Zozibini Tunzi from South Africa.
“If you were in my shoes, would you be ok to receive those hateful comments and messages?”
Delegates urged people to use their love and empathy and to choose to put their energy into actions with positive impacts.
Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray, shared the anti-cyberbullying campaign on her Instagram, along with a post revealing that she too had been targeted.
“So many use social media as a consequence-free way to attack, put down and degrade others,” wrote Gray. “It started during my Binibini journey and escalated during my Miss Universe journey. I receive hate comments even today.”
Gray urged those able to comment online to use their freedom in a positive way.
“It is never okay to degrade someone to harass them in the name of sharing your opinion,” wrote Gray. “WORDS HAVE POWER. To both put down and pull up. I hope we would choose the latter.”
The current holder of the Miss Universe title is Andrea Meza from Chihuahua City, who represented her home country, Mexico, as Miss Universe Mexico in the 69th annual Miss Universe competition.
Meza is a 26-year-old software engineer who works closely with the Municipal Institute for Women, which aims to end violence against women.