Featured Image: Miss Universe Philippines Organization
Through the years, the Philippines has shown the universe its beauty, talent, and intellect. We are known to be the second most-crowned country and a powerhouse in beauty pageants next to Venezuela and the United States after the Philippines’ commendable finish in the ‘Big 4′ beauty pageants.
The display of grace, culture, and a cause aside from natural beauty are the reasons why Filipinos ensure to allot time in watching, following, and cheering our representatives on the international stage. Some pageant enthusiasts and fans file work leave exclusively to watch coronation night when it falls on a working day. I have to avow that Filipinos exert the same effort and energy next to boxing matches and basketball games on pageants’ finals night. This occurrence (unofficial holiday) made by fans demonstrated the perpetual support of Filipinos to showcase what’s inside of our domains — a celebration of diversity and representation.
Nevertheless, critics deprecate how beauty pageants ramp in society. They believe pageants are more dependent on physical presentation than inner beauty. They manufacture young women that despise their appearance and become fixated on perfecting it to be socially acceptable based on the images imprinted by these pageants. Some feminists also critiqued how women were objectified in history to energize patriarchal reasons shaped by men, believing that beauty pageants do not celebrate femininity, but that they only stage a socially pleasing (in the kernels of patriarchal culture) sexualized entertainment for men, and women are the subject.
With all these belief structures provided to establish hate among women, Filipina Beauty Queens poised the opposite. When the ‘sumpa’ (curse; a pageant malison in the Philippines) was finally ended in 2010 by Venus Raj, the country’s winning streak to these pageants continues to represent women and their power.
The domination of Filipina queens surfaced how poverty and social inequality towards women affect their education, social standing, and public relevance, and how they used these socio-historical determinations to advocate for universal resolution.
Over the past decade, the Philippines send forth equipped women of influence that genuinely stewards the marginalized, the socially challenged minorities, and the need to address state dilemmas oppressing the democratic community. These women came from the complex consequences of oppression, and as beauty queens, they elevate their platform to converse for total deterioration of these tyrannical establishments and uplift the movement to be uprooted from feudal classism decimating the masses day by day.
Through these pageants, they created an image supporting equality, redeeming lost voices, and conquering male-dominated industries after the allure of the stage.
On May 16, 2021 (May 17, 2021, in the Philippine Standard Time), Rabiya Mateo vows to bring the fifth Miss Universe crown to the country. Now that it’s high time for Rabiya to compete under the new normal and beneath the bigotry of the Duterte administration, she flaunts the plight of women under these personal attacks and uses them to parade how a phenomenal woman fights her race to topple patriarchy that fuels inequality in every section of the society — harming women and their significance.
Aside from the feat of the crown, she advocates for inclusive education, which is a powerful tool for a queen to deliver her message. It motivates a phenomenal woman to heighten her influence to build mass understanding and fight against ignorance that laces freedom from losing the chain that grips the history from recurring abusively.
To take up space and courage to amplify your voice in front of international audiences where socio-political barriers swell a gap in radical understanding are two symbols of why Filipina queens stand out among others. The thing about Philippine pageant organizations choosing for a perfect caliber queen is that they are not after the candidate’s beauty that captivates; it’s just a bonus, but they are more of the representation: how this candidate will carry the flag, how will she make a difference, how her life will inspire and change others, and how her experiences will collide to make the universe shine. These qualities make every Filipina queen phenomenal — and it dethrones misogyny piece by piece.