NO to beauty pageants… and political invocations

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Not once, but twice!

As with the past years, at least two beauty pageants are touted as highlights of the 2009 Pamulinawen Festival. The Search for Ms. ABC (Association of Barangay Councils) was held on February 4 at the Centennial Arena while the Search for Ms. Laoag is slated on February 10 at the same venue.

More mature societies have already shunned the idea of the traditional beauty pageant. Radical feminist groups, in particular, have lambasted beauty tilts as a form of exploitation of women and the perpetuation of a patriarchal concept of human aesthetics.

For what is a beautiful person? Organizers, of course, harp on the idea that beauty comes from within, blah, blah. But the competition criteria belie this. The minimum height requirement is 5’3”. Plus, you must look good in a swimming suit and, ergo, you must have a softdrink-bottle-shaped physique.

Such pageants, of course, would claim that they promote beauty with a purpose. This is why they are known for tokenism as well, which means doing something in a highly visible manner, though with almost-zero impact. Miss ABC candidates, for instance, went to Shamrock Elementary School to feed some students with miki (or was it lomi?) and juice. The ladies, as expected and choreographed, registered well in their photo/video opportunity while handing out food and goodies to these school children. Alas, they began to look like politicians.

But of course, beauty pageants are a political tool. All of the city’s eighty barangay captains went up the stage at least twice—at the beginning and towards the end of the program—thus stealing the show and disturbing the night’s momentum.

In retrospect, the show’s political nature was made clear as soon as the faithful was asked to stand for the Invocation (opening prayer) during the pageant night.

My favorite song “Lead Me, Lord” was played and I would have enjoyed praying and meditating if it were not for my stomach’s twisting and swirling in violent protest of what I saw. In the accompanying video, images of Jesus Christ were flashed on the screen along with pictures of Laoag City Mayor Michael V. Fariñas and wife Chevylle in various activities.

It was not only inappropriate to do that in a prayer, it was almost sacrilegious. Whoever did that prayer-cum-political-ad must be fired by MVF and should be hired by Gloria Arroyo who loves the idea of hard sell. Malacañang, callous as it may be in churning out Gloria papogi ads, such as the PAGCOR and PCSO commercials that interrupt our otherwise ecstatic watching of Manny Pacguiao’s fights, has not gone that low. But, if it could be done in Laoag, why not on the national stage as well? Anyway, a congressman allied with the administration has argued that Arroyo is like Jesus.

Make no mistake. I honestly admire the visionary efforts of our local officials, especially MVF and Madam Chevylle, in improving the quality of life of our people. While I express dissent on the construction of a mall in downtown Laoag, I am all for the upgrading of the Laoag City General Hospital. And while I may disagree with some of their projects, I always hold them with respect and in high regard.

In his speech, the mayor reassured his constituents of his continued support to education, health, and job generation. Such reassurance could not have come at a better time than today when the world is in deep economic struggle and when the Filipino family faces the prospects of more hunger and tribulation. The mayor said the right words to the right people at the right time but at the wrong place. The backdrop of glitter, glamour, and ostentation just did not fit in the drama. That two well-funded beauty pageants are held in a span of six days doubles my unease.

True, we deserve a break, and it also does us some good to indulge in leisure and recreation once in a while, but it is high time we embrace meaningful activities, shun tokenism, avoid political hard sell, stop perpetuating a boxed concept of beauty, and liberate women from human commodification that is the beauty pageant.

Then again, organizers may argue that Filipinos really love beauty contests and that they are just giving what the audience wants. They may reason that beauty pageants are done all over from the world stage to the smallest and most obscure of barangays.

But that is beside the point. This year’s Laoag City Pamulinawen festival espouses the theme, “Radiating rays of endless possibilities”.

But instead of exploring possibilities and breaking new ground, we fell victims, yet again, to the formulaic concepts of entertainment and fun.

48 Comments

Filed under Festivals, Government/Politics, Ilocos, Religion, Sociology, The Good Life, Tourism, Traditions

48 responses to “NO to beauty pageants… and political invocations

  1. krizes

    hahaha
    paraparaan lng yun. .
    kaet saang bagay nmn lageng me pulitika eh
    di mawawala yun

    di ako nakapanood nung pageant
    hahaha
    sayang

  2. Pingback: A beauty contestant writes… « Riknakem

  3. that must have been a very early political advertisement 🙂

  4. kung ano ang ginagawa nang mas matanda, yun ang ginagawa ng mga bata.

    same goes through with pol-ads.

    ginagawa sa national, ginagawa na rin sa local.

    ginagawa nang presidente, ginagawa ng mga senador (na gustong maging presidente), etc.

    ganoon din kaya ang rason kung bakit kahit sa local ay may corruption na rin 😦

  5. Darna

    To Mr. Hector Olympus:

    I think I agree with your first statement “Kung ano ang ginagawa nang mas matanda, yun ang ginagawa ng mga bata.” Yes, politicians go gaga in feeding, clothing and caring for the less fortunate in front of the media and in public, so did the SKs. However, what we (candidates) did during the charity visit was not a political ad at all. In my opinion, feeding those children at shamrock elem. school is like a bite into reality which made me feel so lucky, I don’t know, I felt like crying but I could not because my make-up will be ruined and the cameras were swirling all over us so I had to fix a smile on my face. Actually, most people tend to say that it was just another crowd-pimping activity to invite supporters for the pageant. But for me it’s not. I made a promise to three children at Shamrock Elem. School. I told them that whatever happens after the pageant, win or lose, I will return and give each of them little presents so they could remember me and to let them realize that not all promises are made to be broken. Until now, I’m still holding on to that promise I made, and on monday, I will surely give something for them to remember me, not as a beauty candidate, but as a person who knows how to keep promises.

  6. D

    Thank you sir. Why didn’t we see you kanina? Namiss ka namin. Ü

  7. frida

    eto lang… candidate ka ba talaga darna?

  8. Herdy La. Yumul

    Frida, Darna is a real candidate. I probed into this already.

  9. hi darna:

    it’s easy to tell who’s politicking and who’s doing public service in front of the camera.

    good to hear that you are on the side of public service.

  10. Pingback: Hitler’s visit, unbearable speeches, amazing Ms. Laoag tilt …and other notes on the Pamulinawen Festival 2009 « Riknakem

  11. Hi there,

    We are an organisations against beauty pageants. Please visit http://www.myspace.com/banbeautypageants and look up “ban beauty pageants” on facebook and add is there too!

    Regards

    x

  12. tita lita

    my husbands grand nieces had been participating in kids beauty pageants and i told their mom not to overdo it because she was homeschooling them just so she have more time to bring them everywhere for the beauty pageants.they are beautiful no doubt about that but they are subjected to make ups, bright lights , frustrations etc..i know it earned them fame and fortune because one of them was a ralph lauren model but i think she missed out on lot of stuff on being a kid.she is now in college .i think she grew up very fast and unable to experience the usual teenager of being a teenager.

    • Herdy La. Yumul

      Have you ever tried joining beauty contests, tita? I have served as judge in one held in Manila. My choices differed from other judges.

  13. tita lita

    your choices always and will always differ from others he he he,,weird taste.

  14. tita lita

    in beauty contests they judge on the outside appearance not on the inside beauty and i know i will not win because you have to peel layers before you can get to my beauty..he he he anyway beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  15. tita lita

    so what were or are your criterias for a pageant’s beauty? our niece spent a lot of money for her kids to participate in these things lucky enough she got lot of sponsors. i for one i would rather donate it to the indigents and needy.

    • Herdy La. Yumul

      It might be of some good though in boosting a child’s esteem. But yes, I think it is imprudent to waste money in this 3rd world country, unless the show is for a beneficiary.

  16. tita lita

    there are many ways of boosting low self esteem i.e nurturing,encouragement,volunteering .and play sports just for fun and no pressure.

  17. tita lita

    i am not a good tennis player but once in awhile my husband and i play.sometimes i win and sometimes he does. i use to be a sore loser but i am not anymore.

  18. tita lita

    what fascinates me is fencing.i always wanted to be a fencer.i love watching it .tried looking for one that teaches it here and no such luck .maybe in the big cities but i hate driving an hour or so and i suppose they are very expensive.

  19. tita lita

    i think i will just stick with the dummy in the basement.and spar with him to take out my frustrations,agressions and agravations whenever i have one. the only problem is, those things are rock solid even with boxing gloves they still hurt.

  20. tita lita

    yes you can call me that.my husband was called to work again at 1 a.m..i heard his cell but i rolled over and went back to sleep.i did not even noticed him coming back.

  21. tita lita

    after he retired from the stateprison of new hampshire his friend put up a security / bodyguards for politicians and rich people and he supervises and everytime they have a problem they call him up.he is on call even after office hours.

  22. tita lita

    he was lucky to retire at 49 years old with 25 years of service and a retired army.

  23. tita lita

    he always tell people that he have to go back to work because i am a” high maintenance “he he he he admits though that i am the best that ever happen to him.his parents use to tell me he had his share of doozies.

  24. tita lita

    and i use to tell them that they raised a very fine gentleman and i thank them all the time .to this day i still tell them the same thing whenever we go visit them in the cemetery.they died very young.

  25. tita lita

    good morning .howas your birthday celeb?did you have a good time?

  26. tita lita

    yes we are both blessed and i thank GOD everyday for all the blessings HE had showered us.HE IS THE LAST ONE I THINK OF WHEN I GO TO BED AND THE FIRST ONE WHEN I WAKE UP .

  27. tita lita

    i hope you are always good and faithful to HIM.

  28. tita lita

    fr willie will be here in august.he is accepted for further theology studies at catholic university of america.i will be flying back to virginia in august anyways .my 2 grandnephews will be in virginia for business trip(my sisters grand sons) so i will go see him.it is couple of hrs drive to rockville maryland from virginia.i am sooo excited .he is a friend of fr. ericson. we chatted almost an hr in “facebook” he is one good egg .

  29. tita lita

    you don’t have to struggle.either you do or you don’t. i do not struggle about anything.after weighing things i make my decisions and whatever the decision is i stick with it.i am in between” a and b” personality.i hope i will always have the sense of balance in my life..

  30. In my point of view think the belief that beauty comes within is true .WEATHER wearing you are short or tall doesn’t matter in sake of beauty as what the competitions criteria believe. Looking good is about confidence in your self.kung ano ang ginagawa nang mas matanda, yun ang ginagawa ng mga bata.
    same goes through with pol-ads.
    ginagawa sa national, ginagawa na rin sa local.
    ginagawa nang presidente, ginagawa ng mga senador (na gustong maging presidente), etc.
    ganoon din kaya ang rason kung bakit kahit sa local ay may corruption na rin

  31. lollipop

    Hindi ko ba lam kung bakit ang hilig hilig nating mga Ilocano sa mga pageant na yan, eh wala naman tayong ganong nakukuha. Pinaggagastusan lang masyado ng ating bayan. Bakit hindi na lang ilaan ang budget sa mas kapakipakinabang na programa. Yung talagang makakatulong sa mga mamamayan at hindi panandaliang aliw lamang.
    ^___^

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