After that unexpected setback in the recent Miss Universe tilt experienced by Ms Mary Jean Lastimosa, but felt as a “heartbreaking” loss by many many Filipinos, it would be good for the Philippine authorities to start thinking and adopting novel schemes and strategies so that the crowning glory and pride of victory would continuously accrue to the nation.

It seems the Philippine officialdom is not giving enough support and solicitude to insure victory? After all who are the foremost beneficiaries of the pride and honor from triumphs in these pursuits if not the government itself or the bureaucrats who can exploit the beauties for whatever purpose. Perhaps, to boost the tourism industry? And oh yes, the politicians can likewise use them to further their own careerist objectives and personal intentions! Who knows but that perhaps some wealthy bachelor from among their ranks can do a Virgilio Hilario act or a Tommy Manotoc feat?

Apart from promoting a culture of neo-liberalism, the cultural-capitalists—the local organizers and promoters of beauty pageants—should adopt a policy and program of “cloning” ! Yes, cloning in order to produce Filipina beauties who must possess caucasian looks, so that they will have a good fighting chance against the Western beauty bets, especially the senoritas from Latin America. Certainly, with a system of beauty cloning established, the Philippines will have a constant reserve of caucasian-looking beauties who can serve as ready contenders for all these international beauty contests. As it is, our pageant promoters and sponsors are hard pressed inviting and enticing good looking girls with mestiza features to vie as candidates for Miss Universe or Miss International, or whatever title there is in the international beauty pageant almanac.

Verily, this would be a welcome development for the candidates themselves who, in mock irony, would be glad to know that at last they will be unrecognizable as Filipinos and become on a level playing field with the contestants from the Western countries. Is this a despicable eventuality? Well, of course, the rage to acquire mestiza or caucasian features among our young generations of Filipino girls has long been a reality and has in fact risen to levels that run parallel to the selfie-glamorizing craze that one witnesses in the Facebook.

Certainly, the distributors of skin-whitening cosmetics and all other beauty-enhancing products flooding the local markets are working hand-in-hand with beauty-culture endorsers to propagate consumerist mentality among our citizenry. Objectively there exists a mutually beneficial thrust and coordination among the cultural-capitalists and the comprador-bourgeoisie in our neo-liberal economy. The deplorable consequence is an outlook that gives high premium to the cultivation of outward appearance which must satisfy the Western standards of human pulchritude. Where physical beauty takes prime concern, it must likewise look to America or Europe for models. Or better still— in the language of modern information technology— trending springs eternal upon the sight of good looks and shapely bodies that meet the eye of netizens in the social media. And particularly so, if these are oozing with sex!

In spite of all these, the private personal ambition for popularity and fame is infused with the idea of being in the pursuit of a higher motive—presumably for the attainment of national glory. National pride and honor are brandished as a prime consideration in one’s passionate involvement and participation in beauty pageants. A kind of crass patriotism is encrusted onto the girlhood dream. It has acquired a quality of congenital calling that most every Filipino girl gears up her energy and efforts for. She could be a peasant girl from a never-heard village in some far-flung province or a waif from a squalid urban settlement or a socialite upstart from an exclusive subdivision. There’s just one requisite—a consuming passion and abiding diligence to look and act like a mestiza Filipina, short of being a caucasian-looking Fil-Am or Eurasian.

Surely, the crown of glory if fated to be won by the Filipino bet will not be hers alone. The entire Filipino nation partakes of the seized pride and honor. And she becomes a quintessential representation of “a dream come true”— to be emulated, adored, or idolized. And the cycle of pageantry in a nation and country beset by abject poverty rolls on and on ad infinitum. And the crowning glory rings like a paper bell its hollow meaningfulness a resounding mock irony of the history of moral stagnation, political corruption and economic backwardness of Philippine society

Who will take a look at and give a damn about the mass suffering and deprivation among the teeming millions of the Filipino people? These are easily overshadowed, ignored, and forgotten by a momentary exultation at the crowning glory of winning in an international beauty contest! No! Hunger and want must not interfere with the crescendo pitch of national jubilation in the eventuality of a Filipina beauty being crowned as Queen of the Universe! Or Queen of the International Community! Or Queen of the World! Or Goddess of the Earth!

One with a throb of social conscience is bound to ask: But will the extravagant rejoicing result to social uplift from destitution ?

If a movement and program for massive re-orientation and development of social awareness is called for, that would be simply left to the critical-minded groups and individuals whose world outlook is founded on a nationalistic and egalitarian vision of society. On top of their agenda is the emancipation of the people from poverty and the society’s other chronic ills.

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