Last week, the whole Philippines tuned in to the Ms. Universe pageant, practically shutting down businesses just to witness this high-prized contest that our nation as a whole was proud to be in.
As we pretty much all know at this point, Ms. Philippines Shamcey Supsup became 3rd runner up instead of taking the top crown as Ms. Universe 2011. After the announcement of this beauty pageant, almost all the airwaves, newspapers, and all over the internet, Filipinos in this country even across the seas, were all talking about why Shamcey did not take the crown.
As usual, many speculate all kinds of conspiracy theories that obviously won’t make any difference at this point. For the benefit of my own issues, I will join in the bandwagon in the discussion of that event, putting on a different spin of argument.
First things first, let me be honest, I don’t like beauty pageant contests in general. I personally think that any beauty contest is demeaning to women, which includes especially children’s beauty contests.
Making women a commodity in front of many people is another way to propagate stereotyping. And it reinforces some of our prejudices about beauty, whereby only tallness, pleasant facial features, and lean physique is considered beautiful; all forms and shapes, but no substance.
Of course, millions will disagree with me and that’s okay, we can all agree to disagree.
I understand that for the most part, our local beauty pageants are only for fun and in the spirit of good intentions. They’re for entertainment purposes only. That is well and good, but sometimes those fun things that we think are harmless may have long-term repercussions, especially in this world of superficiality. But that is another discourse for another time.
Putting aside my own bias in this context to prove a different point of view, my spin on this case is really to point out the outraged reactions of many about Shamcey’s answer to her final question. Did she answer the final question correctly or not? I suppose it depends on whose side we are on; the judges, the viewers, the Ms. Universe standard of principles, the world view, or perhaps Shamcey’s personal side.
In the age of globalization, we must take into account that the norm now is that we can no longer be exclusive; rather, inclusiveness is the key component to embrace social diversity and sensitivity.
So one of the speculations as to why Shamcey did not win was because her answer was not worldly enough, and perhaps, the judges were not impressed with her mentioning the word “God”.
Here is the excerpt of the exact question and answer for Ms. Philippines during last week’s Ms. Universe pageant. Question: “Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love, why or why not?” Answer: “If I had to change my religious beliefs, I will not marry the person that I love. Because the first person that I love is God who created me. And I have my faith and my principles. And these what makes me who I am. And if that person loves me, he should love my God, too. Thank you.”
After viewing the actual interview on YouTube, against my whole opposition to this kind of event, and after examining Shamcey’s educational and professional background, it is highly unlikely that she is unaware of the whole PC (political correctness) about the world view of inclusiveness.
In other words, her answer was based on her own “truth” — regardless of its exclusiveness tone.
Meaning, this is exactly what she believes, and that’s exactly how she expressed it, whether it is PC or not.
Her answer to the question didn’t seem coerced or rehearsed. So my other question is, is it wrong for her to tell her “truth”, as opposed to just saying words that the judges want to hear like a drone?
I’m not saying she should have won the top prize for being honest, but I think her honesty should have been considered as a virtue that any crowned Ms. Universe should uphold.
Obviously, I don’t know her that well, nor I am in authority to presume that she is a better person than the rest of the contestants because her answer implied some honesty. But what I can say is that I am inclined to believe that Shamcey’s answer was not to impress anyone; rather, it seemed stated like it is, as she truly is.
I think what we can all learn from this event, vapid as it might be, is the notion that we should not be too quick to judge others for speaking the “truth”, even if it is disagreeable to our social values.
On the contrary, one thing we should be practicing is the virtue of tolerance. We should learn to tolerate different points of view in various levels of ideas.
So let’s welcome Shamcey’s reality of her own truth, she owns it, and is proud of it.