MANILA, May 14, 2012—While same-sex “marriage” supporters in the United States attempt to put homosexual unions and holy matrimony on equal footing, the issue on Philippine shores recently has been the idea of admitting men – albeit physically altered – into beauty pageants for women in the name of equality. The issue, however, may indicate a lack of respect for women and a superficial understanding of beauty.
“I think the transgender thing happening was really just a matter of time. When beauty is quantified and broken down to things like height or chest or waist measurement, it becomes unsurprising that surgically altered individuals would want in. I’m really not a big fan of beauty pageants in general because I think they still tend to objectify women. This for me just makes it even more unpalatable,” said Stef Patag, a homeschooling mom in the United States.
“It just highlights the way beauty has become a commodity – something that can be purchased, instead of something that’s innate, something that comes with being God’s creation… or maybe we’re not even allowed to say that anymore, since that’s [supposedly] ‘bigotry’?”
“I don’t think it’s a good idea to mix ‘natural born’ women with ‘naturalized’ women. This is not like a citizenship issue – this involves tampering with nature,” magazine editor and newspaper columnist Teresa Reyes Tunay pointed out.
“What’s insidious here is the long-range effect this move will have on people’s consciousness and values, particularly the young. It will add to the list of things that blur the difference between right and wrong. No real woman in her right mind will join a Miss Universe pageant that insists on entertaining surgically altered men,” she added.
When discrimination is not necessarily wrong
That beauty contests have been tagged as discriminatory is a given, and this kind of discrimination is not necessarily wrong, communications manager Rommel Lopez pointed out, saying that pageants are indeed discriminatory in nature.
“We separate the beautiful from what, in the judges’ perception, is not that beautiful. That is how contests are. We differentiate in order to get the best,” Lopez explained.
“That is also the reason why there are female beauty contests and there are male beauty contests. You cannot compare apples to oranges. There are people who dare change their bodies because they based it on their perception of what beauty is. You cannot compare now an organically [grown] apple from an apple that is laden with chemicals. You just can’t. Try convincing an organic health buff.”
The same principle applies to persons as regards their nature in the biological sense, the communications specialist remarked – specifically with transgendered men who aspire to join a Binibining Pilipinas or any contest for females – since what makes a man masculine and a woman feminine is determined not by externals but by the unique genetic imprint.
“Belonging to a gender is not defined by your sexual attraction or by your genitals. It lies at the core of the person, his DNA. No matter how much hormones you have injected into your body, your DNA stays the same,” Lopez said.
Commending the courageous
Former Miss Universe runner-up Miriam Quiambao was asked for her opinion on the matter not too long ago, and her simple, honest reply was met with anger and flippancy from some sectors.
“…I believe that the Miss Universe pageant should only be for natural-born women. Yes, I agree that there is a whole lot more to being a woman than just looks and I believe that a Miss Universe representative should not only “embody” … but also have that spirit. By embody, the XX chromosome is a sex-determining factor and the most important,” was part of the beauty queen’s comments published in a broadsheet in April.
She also sent out the following on Twitter: “Homosexuality is not a sin but it is a lie from the devil. Do not be deceived. God loves gays and wants them to know the truth.”
“Miriam sounded sincere; she really spoke from her conscience. Credit her for courage,” Tunay said.
“Her initial statement was good; she should have stopped there and let others ruminate on her words. But – maybe due to her zeal – she blindly walked into a trap by guesting at a TV show hosted by an overt homosexual. Of course, the gay activists, like roaring lions ready to devour an absent-minded prey, pounced on her.”
“I think Miriam Quiambao doesn’t deserve the flak she’s getting because one, she’s been diplomatic about it, and two, if everyone got blasted for saying something that somebody else disagreed with then no one should talk at all,” writer Nicole Bautista pointed out.
“It’s true that there is a limit to freedom of expression, that is when this freedom oversteps others’ rights, but Miriam Quiambao’s statement does not do this.”
The beauty titlist’s courage and the reactions her remarks generated reached foreign shores, bringing these to the attention even of Filipinos overseas who keep abreast of events affecting life and family issues.
“I’m not surprised about the flak she got for her comments. But you know, it’s so ‘cool’ these days to call Christianity bigotry. I think Ms. Quiambao should be commended for having the courage to stand up for her beliefs. It’s funny, though, how those who scream and call for tolerance are the very same people who are the first to call ‘foul’ when their own beliefs, behaviors and/or lifestyles are challenged,” observed Patag, herself not unfamiliar with the scenario she described, being in the US where the nation’s president’s recent admission of support for same-sex “marriage” legalization – though not really surprising given his track record on the issue – has been fueling discussions on matters of freedom, tyranny, religious persecution, and the US Constitution.
“Let’s face it, anti-Catholicism/anti-Christianity is the last acceptable prejudice. Tolerance is only real when it goes both ways. The LGBT crowd have their own beliefs, let Miriam have hers,” Patag said.
“I don’t mind if they want to come up with Ms. Gay Universe, etc.–at least with all of them transgenders there, the fight will be fair and square. But with real women and ‘virtual women’ together, the judging criteria, for instance, will necessarily have to be changed,” Tunay explained.
Lopez, too, leaves it to the person if his desire is to change his anatomical features and to join contests.
“It’s his call. But don’t tell us how to define which is a woman and which is not. Go hold your own beauty pageant,” he advises. (Diana Uichanco)