DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The Gabriela Women’s Party posted on social media their full disapproval to the Miss Universe pageant criticizing it for purportedly illustrating the exploitation women.
In a statement posted last Wednesday, Jan. 11, the group stated that they opposed not only the Miss Universe pageant, but also other pageants and festivals that exploit and commodify women.
As the country host the 65th Miss Universe, the group said that it is only another attempt to sell the country and its tourist destination “for cheap, easily exploitable women.”
However, Darleen Undag, 22 a volunteer English teacher now at Myanmar said that while she agreed on the group’s stand against exploitation of women like the swimsuit segment, she disliked its criticism that the pageant is for easy exploitation to women.
“The pageant is really commercialized since the organizers can earn a huge amount but exploitation to women is not the main objective of the pageant,” she said.
“Sa ilang point of view, exploitation siya but actually it is never the aim of the Miss Universe. Ang fund nila ginagamit man pud nila sa ilang foundation sa mga communities na ilang gina-uplift (From their point of view, the pageant is an exploitation to women but actually it is never the aim of the Miss Universe pageant. Their fund from the pageant were also used for their foundation to the communities that they uplift),” she said.
In a phone interview with Davao Today, Regina Rosa Tecson, department head of City Tourism here said “women are only exploited if they are not empowered.”
“They will be pressured to a lot of challenges but if women are discerning, learned, use their common sense, and are able to decide for themselves then there is no problem,” she said.
“Lots of women are not aware about this but luckily here in Davao, the Integrated Gender Development Office is educating women on their rights,” she said.
The IGDD was created under the Office of the City Mayor following the passage of the Women Development Code on October 14, 1997. The office acts as the coordinating, regulating and monitoring body of the city government and focuses on gender-sensitive projects and activities.
The Code is a landmark legislation for Davao City and the first to be passed by any local government.
Meanwhile, Gabriela clarified that its critique was on the pageant itself and not on the participants.
“We lament that women with ideals and aspirations are being used to promote commercial brands under the guise of “women empowerment.” (davaotoday.com)