2015 is a remarkable year for Filipino fans that are consistently following national and international beauty contests when after the long forty two years, the Philippines finally clinched the crown of the elusive and most coveted Miss Universe title. After the recent several consecutive attempts to win the title, the Philippines has been almost there but always ended just so closed to the title. Until the 64th edition of MU ended the long year of drought when a Pinay beauty transcended and vested other 80 contestants around the world. It is an edition that marred by controversy that will be recorded in the history of the pageant as an epic fail when the host mistakenly announced the wrong name. Nevertheless, the overjoyed Filipino fans that are in ecstasy have no reason not to celebrate the triumph that waited for long since the crown was last won on 1973.
Beauty contest is a competition that has traditionally focused on judging and ranking the physical attributes of the contestants, although some have evolved to incorporate personality, intelligence, talent, and answers to judges' questions as judged criteria. There is a notion that talking about pageant is a very gay and girl thing that every macho men are unconcerned to care. Not surprisingly because those involved here from contestants to behind the scene people are gay and girls. But in rare occasions when beauty contest becomes a national interest like winning in international competitions, the male sect are coming up too and sharing opinion. It could be due to male being the natural stronger sex and polygamous that easily appreciates beauty. That is why there is an argument from the extreme feminist group arguing that pageants are merely an exploitation of women. But according to the advocates, it is not exploitation as long as the ladies are treated properly, with respect, dignity, joined with their own free-will and not degraded. It is not sexism but a celebration of femininity much like men who show off their pumping iron results in wrestling, boxing and body-building. Beauty pageant can actually considered like a sports that tons of preparation from physical to mental to personality. It is not shallow as others think it is. A competition in year 2000, a girl was asked of her idea that Miss Universe is not disrespectful of women. The contestant said that the pageant gives the young women a platform to foray in the fields that they want to and forge ahead, be it entrepreneurship, be it the armed force, be it politics. It gives them a platform to voice their choices and opinions and makes them strong independent that they are now.
Beauty pageant becomes part of Philippine culture where every mother (or every little girl, every auntie and relatives) is dreaming their daughter (or themselves, their nieces and their female relative) to win in a beauty contest. Since in the early history of Philippines back in circa 18th century, there were already names recorded as the most beautiful lady in their town, barangay, school, organization, etcetera. By nature, mothers want their daughters to be the prettiest and they will make way for it to happen just to join in a beauty contest as the pride to recognize their daughters beautiful. But we should remember that it should not be important to focus on the physical attributes. While joining pageants is fun, gives confidence, promotes personal development, fosters friendships, build self esteem, promotes community services and encourages goal-setting, let our dreams to embellish our daughters will not lead to a message that appearance is an important thing. Beauty is only in the eye of the beholder, it varies from one’s point of view to another. It is not only in the physical beauty but more importantly is the inner beauty because what is essential is invisible to the naked eye. Always remember that character and personality are far more important.
The winning of Philippines in 2015 Miss Universe is a show of world-class talent, skill, and beauty of a Filipina. It is not just about beauty but a celebration of women’s wit and God’s given gift. Joining the bandwagon of celebrating the Philippines victory in beauty contest, I will not let to miss this historic moment without taking part by writing in records my thoughts and support to all Filipina representatives.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, Miss Universe 2015, Miss Philippines 2016
By Alex V. Villamayor
December 26, 2015