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Monday, January 30, 2017

Why Pinoys Are Fixated On Superficial Beauty Contests

Headlines speak clearly to our values. Do you like what this headline says about us?
Headlines speak clearly to our values. Do you like what this headline says about us?

I don’t get beauty contests. I don’t look forward to them. I don’t watch them. I don’t revel in the victories and I don’t care to keep track of the history. I do get the pinoy obsession with them though. Maybe it takes one to know one and I have never been a beauty. Imelda (there is only one) once said “Between beauty and power, it’s beauty I reach for”. Maybe that traumatized me on the idea of beauty. Here is someone who always talked about it and what I believe to be her legacy. How did that turn out for her?
Everybody is so thrilled about a winner in a beauty pageant. Problem is Ms. World and Ms. Universe are all more exhibition than competition. To paraphrase Dan Wetzel’s beef  about any event with judges: Some people just are born with better looks than others so where is the competition there? A competition requires a quantifiable way to determine a winner and a loser. There can be no debate about the scoring system. Ball goes into the basket or ball stays in glove. Is the swimsuit competition really about swimsuits scrapping in a cage match?? Judges are there to have their personal own agendas met. What kind of competition is that?? The most famous example of this was Perez Hilton deciding to make the “competition” about him.  Besides, why would you want to be judged by a flamboyant gossip columnist? For the record the bastion of liberalism at the time President Obama agreed with the contestant. You don’t see Perez condemning him. Double standard, he should try being a Filipino politician one time.
Like any red blooded male I do enjoy looking at beautiful women. But I can not remember the last time I sat down to watch a beauty pageant. Because face it they are not looking for someone gifted in the area of physics. Maybe someone gifted in defying physics. They want to see the women walk in evening gowns, swimsuits and do some sort of number. In the televised portion they only get one question to show the viewing audience what is inside their brain. Pageants are all about eye candy. Candy might taste good but it is bad for you even in the short run. Candy lacks substance, just read the news, look at our elected leaders and you will see the same thing.

She is the only Miss World contestant I can name. So how significant is this thing really?
She is the only Miss World contestant I can name. So how significant is this thing really?

I made a tweet Sunday. All I said was that Miss World is no big deal to me. All my life the only Miss World I remember is Lynda Carter who only represented the US and did not actually “win”. All you guys and gals about to get steamed at me, here is the last twenty Miss World winners and how many do you know?  That was exactly my point in my Smart Gilas opinion piece.  That Pinoy Paradox. They chest beat over something because of the prestige but they themselves could care less about the apparent excellence on display when there is no “pinoy” present. Pinoyness is a prerequisite to appreciating excellence. For me that is the heart of pinoy narcissistic behavior. They claim that these international “wins” gives them and their country “respect”. Heaven forbid they reciprocate. We want you to pay attention to us but we won’t pay attention to you. With KSPs it is rarely a two way street. Its all about the attention and not the actual excellence. Yet when somebody else achieves that excellence the pinoys ignore it. There is a word for making race a factor in appreciating or not appreciating something. You smart ones know what that word is.
Pinoys have an international reputation as taking pageants seriously. Do a Google Search. Is that something to be proud of? Us pinoys really enjoy swimming in the sea of superficiality. Don’t you love a place where the trivial is important and the important is trivial? What you are is God’s gift to you and what you become is your gift to God. Regardless of what you learned watching Sandra Bullock in Ms. Congeniality how much “development” do beauty contestants put themselves through?
It really makes no sense to chest beat in terms of nationality in just about anything. In my previous work I scratch my head how this nation can identify with Jessica Sanchez so much when at her peak in American Idol she had never been here. Therefore she did not grow up with the same schools or tv shows or whatever else. Is the need for attention that great? When Barrack Obama became President in 2008, much was made of the first black president. The thing is, he is half Caucasian. The part of him that rarely gets recognized. Tiger Woods is seen as a black man. But he is half Thai. People rarely bring up what is not visible.
“You yankees* are so silly about matters of the heart, Dont you know that women are the only works of art?”
Don Henley
Let us look at entirely different genre than race in terms of physical beauty. Look at the greatest songwriters of all time. they tend to be a hybrid. John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David , Elton John and Bernie Taupin To borrow an idea from Breaking Bad, You cannot deny the chemistry. Sometimes you need two disparate things coming together to produce something great. Off the top of my head these are three examples of beauties no one nation can lay claim to. Three women who are products of a Eurasian union. If they are not your type because they are not pinay, I could give a rat’s behind. I can never understand somebody who is adamant that pinays are the most beautiful in the world yet they have never left this country. If you are like the Beach Boys and “have been all around this great big world” then still insist pinays over the rest of the world then OK. Just know when you read me, I aim to broaden your perspective, not narrow it down. I can also tell you the most fun I ever had anywhere in the world standing on the corner watching all the girls go by was in Madrid.

Morena Corwin
Morena Corwin

Angela Melini
Angela Melini

Yunji De Neis
Yunji De Neis

It seems like the desire for foreign blood fuels the desire of the pinoy to get away from their aboriginal identity. There seems to be a disconnect between declared values and real values. Pinoys want their cake and eat it too. They want propriety but yet the accepted idea of beauty in this culture has to have some sort of mestiza element to it. Something here does not compute. Proud to be pinoy and live and die with beauty contests yet the culture seems to encourage pinoy blood being “diluted”.

We are known as the brown race. You rarely see brown models or actresses in pinoy media.
We are known as the brown race. You rarely see brown models or actresses in pinoy media.

There are many dark skinned beauties here but if you recall Jim Rohn said the market place is reality.The audiences based on our media providers don’t seem to care for them You rarely see any of them playing prominent roles in the movies, dramas, game shows, newscasts and even the car show model circuit. One of the few places where you can find dark skinned pinays is in Trike Patrol.

Typical Barrio lass Maui Taylor
How many times have pinoy movie producers cast people like actresses Maui Taylor as a barrio lass? YEAH! Your typical barrio girl is that fair skinned and has silicone “enhancements”.

You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes, you will
That you’re beautiful as you feel
Carole King
Whoever wrote the phrase “secure in their own skin” did not have the pinoys in mind. I have always been of the mindset that you should be grateful for what God gave you. Hilarious how Kris Aquino endorses skin whitener when her skin is already naturally lightener. It is a bit like Olive Oyl  endorsing some weight loss program. Here in GRP yes we love discussing pinoy dysfunction. But any nation that adores Kris Aquino gets what it deserves. KSP is the root of all evil.
“Show A Little Faith There’s Magic In The Night, You Ain’t A beauty but hey your all right. And that’s all right with me “
Bruce Springsteen Thunder Road (1976)
Bruce Springsteen is an interesting case in relation to the beauty pageant ideal. He was my musical idol as a teenager and his music still moves me today. Bruce sings, writes and plays with the same goal that I write. To make a connection. Take a guess who is more successful at it? Now the following is just a personal theory I always had. I only use as a basis my knowledge and personal fondness for Bruce Springsteen’s music.

Bruce Springsteen's first wife.
Bruce Springsteen’s first wife.

Julianne Philips
Bruce was initially married to Julianne Phillips in 1985.
The marriage lasted four years then two years later married Patti Scialfa in 1989. A marriage that lasts to this day. My personal theory was that Bruce was always about being an artist. Someone who did not really perform as opposed to really expressing himself. He is so into performing that he I observed that he lip syncs badly. If you are lucky enough to ever see him perform ( I have twice) that is him on stage. It is not a character he slips into. He has been able to maintain all that energy because it is not an act. For a reasonable simulation find a copy of Springsteen and the E Street Band and try to listen it in hour stretches. There are times you may feel the highs and the lows. Totally rockin or totally somber. I promise you Bruce and the band will not leave you the same way they found you.
Bruce was so consumed with what he did. He initially married this beautiful model/ actress. That is what rock stars do. That did not last for whatever reason but based on the facts he married someone in his band who is so much further removed from the beauty pageant standard compared to his first wife. For those of you focused on the looks then maybe you are thinking initially that he “downgraded”. My personal theory is that Bruce was married in a sense to his band. They bonded over hours and hours of rehearsal, performing and travel. Those of you who have never played in a band or grew up on drum machines and samplers have no idea how much work it goes into getting a band to play tight. Bruce was previously married to Miami Steve ( Yes Silvio in Sopranos), Clarence, Gary, Roy, Mighty Max and Danny. In 1984 Nils Lofgren and Patti came. I feel that Bruce could pour his soul into somebody who fought that same war on the same battlefield. Somebody who was part of his baring his inner self to crowd after crowd. It is not about beauty pageant looks. Might be nice but that is just a one variable equation.
Patti and Bruce
You can make the case I am bitter. I did hit a few branches on the ugly tree I have to admit. I am so grotesque that I make the Phantom of the Opera look like 1950’s Rock Hudson. So you can keep that bias in mind. Many aspects of physical beauty are beyond your control anyway. Whatever happened to “its not what happens to you but how you react that counts”? Wait a minute we can say the same thing of race or specifically the condition of being pinoy. Being pinoy is an accident of birth. Once in a while the world produces a woman who is beautiful no matter how you look at her. One such example is Audrey Hepburn. Through no act of her own she was born with that face. But she strived to be charming and graceful. That is her. She was a giving person, that is her. She was more than her looks.

Many connoisseurs of beauty think of Audrey Hepburn as the standard. Beauty beyond the physical.
Many connoisseurs of beauty think of Audrey Hepburn as the standard. Beauty beyond the physical.

You can not argue that in beauty pageants there is some agreed upon universal standard. As far as figures go there is some conformity. Look at that picture and countless others of beauty pageants. There are women who I find beautiful but have no business being in a “beauty” pageant. My question is this reverence and bombardment of beauty pageant standards healthy for women in general? I am sure there are many documented incidents of this though the first example that always pops into my head is that once upon time there was no such thing as eating disorders in Fiji. The entrance of television changed all that.

There really is a  body type that must be conformed to in pageants world wide. Is that a good thing?
There really is a body type that must be conformed to in pageants world wide. Is that a good thing?

I was very fortunate enough to earn my undergraduate degree in a school that was a kaleidoscope of races. Blondes, red heads, Asians, Europeans, Indos, Africans. Maybe that helps my appreciation of different kinds of beauty. I hope I can safely say that I am not racist. Beauties and even non beauties of all races rejected me equally. It’s not them, it’s me. I like my women the same way I like my coffee: black. Difference being though in college I did have coffee.
How is this for a sample of pinoy values? Pinoys lay siege on a pinoy town and kill pinoy civilians and military = no outrage. Some Facebook troll allegedly mocks Ms. World = outrage. A faceless writer expresses apathy for the so called national team that bears corporate sponsorship = death threats. Where is the logic in that? Don’t you love a place where the significant is trivial and the trivial is significant?
The same emotional irrationality that drives pinoys to treat international beauty pageants as life and death is the same emotional irrationality that allows mental juggernauts like Erap and Noynoy to get elected. The same emotional irrationality that drives pinoys to treat international beauty pageants as life and death is the same emotional irrationality that allows people to believe Noynoy Aquino is the nation’s savior despite everything going on around them like Zamboanga and the pork barrel scandal.
My role is to inject a dose of reality to this festive ocassion. In the midst of all this celebration, ever stop to think what the heck you are celebrating? A “pretty” face is God given. Don’t get me going on the Belo mentality of beauty either. The mentality that vanity is the most important value. Or a value at all. I have seen enough Frankenstein stories.
I like what I like. I know it sounds painfully obvious but not really to some of you. Because I like things for their intrinsic value not for their nationality. I am fortunate to enjoy many things in my life like: Steely Dan, The Far Cry Series. The Larry Sanders Show, Major League Baseball, ESPN podcasts, Miles Davis, The New Statesman, Thomas Harris books. What I will never do is force them down your throat. I might make the case to appreciate them but in the end people are wired for different things. Don’t force me to value beauty pageants and pinoy basketball like you do. It might mean something to you, it means nothing to me. I find some deep emotional investment in beauty pageants silly yet logical for the pinoy culture. Because of the dysfunction inherent within. A society that looks up to Noynoy Aquino, Willie Revillame, Erap Estrada, Andrew E and Richard Gomez can not be labelled as anything other than dysfunctional. Entertainment choices is one thing. But when that ignorance spills into my life because of the lack of rationalization exercised by pinoys in the ballot box you have earned my wrath.
With pinoys it is always about race. Either they are better than anyone else or they are victim. There is no in between. Is there anything wrong with knowing you are pinoy and just go on with your life? I will say the same thing I have said in every blog of mine that questions pinoy nationalism. Don’t ask me to care about singers, basketball players or beauty contestants as long as you guys continue to vote in mental midgets in all levels of government. Get that right first. If Pinoys are world class at anything it is in being butthurt over the trivial and ignoring the significant. Our President makes a peace treaty solely for the headlines but no meat where it matters and no one cares. Change the setting to a beauty pageant then you have people’s attention.
Eat Bulaga, Willie Revillame and tele novella type shows dominate the ratings here. Things that deal with instant gratification and usually allergic to any thought process. Even our news on the over the air channels, they have the same intonation as pro wrestling announcers. Beauty contests are a big deal in the Filipino culture. Look around you and see what else our society values and you realize it is fitting.
I believe that beauty pageants are superficial. Filipino culture just embraces it . Then again in 2010 faced with a decision of who will lead the country the voters considered leadership, wisdom. morals, decision making , crisis management to negligible qualities. Instead they split their votes between a guy whose mother just died and a convicted plunderer. The typical pinoy election is like a beauty election but without beauty. No brains required either. Your call if that is superficial. PROUD TO BE PINOY!!!!

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