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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Filipino Identity Crisis And Why I Don’t Keep Up With Beauty Pageants Anymore

December 21, 2015
by Grimwald
Okay, before I begin, I am more than willing to admit that I’m not an expert on beauty. Being undeniably male (though I do get mistaken for a girl over the phone and voice chat from time to time), I can only look at the beauty pageants many typical Filipinos try to keep up with as a spectator and an ugly one at that. I am writing this not to bash the contestants or the spirit of the competition, but to express my disappointment over what the idea of beauty has become for many of our countrymen.
Look, there’s nothing really wrong with beauty pageants and our interest in them. Indeed, to be honest, I used to see it as just another pastime, similar to how one would watch sports and the like. However, over the years, I see more and more how warped the beauty pageant scene in the Philippines is becoming. Of course, you’re welcome to disagree, as always. But then, I’d like to ask you to hear me out first and my three points before you present me your own counterarguments. Again, I feel a need to stress that I’m not doing this because I am offended personally by beauty pageants in the Philippines but rather, I have seen what they’ve become and how they’ve become detrimental to our society.
Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach is this year's Miss Universe.
Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach is this year’s Miss Universe.
I’m not saying that we should get rid of beauty pageants. Indeed, I still believe that natural beauty is something that we should be proud of as a people. But then, when one takes a closer look at how Pinoys view their own beauty pageants, it becomes apparent that there is something wrong with our culture and how we see ourselves and the rest of the world. I also wrote this piece to compliment these two older posts as a form of tribute. So, without further ado, I give you my three top observations about Pinoy pageants and why they disappoint me:
Pinoy Pageants Trample On The Idea Of Self-Love
For a country filled with nothing but hopeless romantics, the typical Pinoy seems to lack a good bit of self-love, the primary ingredient in finding “true love”. Indeed, it’s quite apparent in a lot of our romance shows and films that loving oneself is not a factor in how “love” works for a lot of Filipinos as summed up by these two articles.
Now look, a lot of our beauty contestants may be beautiful but they look nothing like the common Filipina. I have nothing against Halfies, to be honest, but I think we should focus more on finding contestants that look more “local” per se, than women who look like foreigners. Indeed, one just needs to hear the names of Pia Wurtzbach and Venus Raj to know that they are not bred from local stock but are German and Arabic, respectively. Of course, like I already said, there’s nothing wrong with Halfies but they are not representative of the Filipino people and are therefore not a good example of what “Filipina Beauty” actually is.
One reason I’m more than a little vexed by this is that I have a female friend who is so insecure in her own appearance because of her tanned skin and, at least according to her, unflattering nose. However, I will still say that she is perhaps one of the more beautiful women I know as she is a woman of considerable height with well-proportioned assets and some of the whitest and strongest teeth I’ve ever seen in a woman. Unfortunately, she constantly compares herself to various beauty contestants and celebrities on TV which she seems to think are what “beautiful” should be.
I can probably find the time to watch beauty pageants again when they can present contestants who are natural-born Filipino citizens with native parents who have been around for at least a generation on our islands. Indeed, I find myself asking the question: “Who will love us when we do not love ourselves for who we are?”
They Cater To The Cinderella Mentality
I actually find fitness and bodybuilding competitions much more interesting than beauty pageants simply because perfecting one’s body and maintaining one’s figure is a lot more challenging than simply being “born” beautiful. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being born beautiful but then, for me at least, it’s just a bonus. After all, even a woman who is born beautiful can become ugly if she does not take good care of herself.
As I see it, Pinoys like beauty pageants because it caters to the idea that beauty translates to goodness and that being born beautiful means you’re meant for great things and, if you happen to be less than what is defined as beautiful, then you probably won’t amount to anything. They forget that beauty isn’t everything and that maintaining one’s beauty also requires considerable effort and resolve as well. Indeed, typical Pinoys still prefer the idea of privileges one is born with rather than rewards that one can earn through dedication, perseverance and hard work.
One reason I prefer fitness and bodybuilding competitions is that a lot of the contestants may look like your average Pinoy or Pinay when they started but through will, effort and a willingness to sacrifice turned them into the examples of human perfection that they are.
And before I end this section, let me tell you a personal detail: I will always prefer a strong and hard working “hipon” over surgery-obsessed and chemically-overdosed blobs any day!
Encouraging Credit-Grabbing
Tying in with the two I’ve already mentioned, typical Pinoys are obsessed with beauty pageants as they feel that they can grab credit from the contestants. Instead of seeing the victories of our countrywomen as a result of their own efforts, majority of typical Pinoys simply think that they won because of their “Filipino blood” as if everything boils down to one’s blood and not their own efforts and resolve. And this despite the fact that Ms. Wurtzbach isn’t even a full-blooded Filipino and that, going by the way Pinoys tend to think, the Germans have equal claim to her victory.
[Photo courtesy PhilStar.]



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