Bye-bye, Miss U? | Inquirer Opinion
At Large

Bye-bye, Miss U?

As of latest count, more than a hundred women—and men—have signed the petition sent to the organizers of the Miss Universe pageant, asking them to back out from their agreement with the Philippine government to hold the 2016 competition in Manila. Those who want to add their names—and thereby their sentiments—to the petition are still welcome, the women behind the effort said.

You will recall that soon after she was appointed to take over the Department of Tourism, Secretary Wanda Teo said that one of the department’s first programs was the hosting of the Miss U pageant in Manila. This was supposed to project the country to the world and highlight the tourism draws of the Philippines, especially since the current titleholder is a Filipino, Pia Wurtzbach.


Of course, since then, the tourism prospects for the country, once bright and shining with the winning slogan “More fun in the Philippines,” have dimmed somewhat given the bad news about the country in the international media. When a French newspaper describes your president as a “serial killer,” and magazine covers and front pages of newspapers banner corpses scattered about on the streets, it’s doubtful tourists and leisure-seekers will put your country on top of their wish list of places to visit.

So it’s doubtful that holding the Miss U pageant here, and hosting the young beautiful candidates from around the world, is going to drive up our dwindling tourism numbers. So for trolls to describe the signatories to the petition as “unpatriotic” would be to lay the blame at the wrong door. Look no further than your president.



As the petition says, the reason Miss Universe should not be crowned here next year is the “objectionable, scandalous, and demeaning sexist attitude demonstrated by the… leaders of our country.”

“In recent months,” the petition asserts, “chauvinism, brutal shaming, rape jokes and a sweeping disregard for women as persons deserving not merely of a token, but true, respect has been exhibited by the President… with his salacious and sexist comments and treatment of female reporters and opposition figures, which has carried over to his allies in the Philippine Congress.”

What are we to make, then of celebrating not just women’s beauty—but also poise, confidence, talents and accomplishments, as the new Miss Universe publicity machine asserts—in a country where women are almost routinely made fun of and reduced to objects of lust and desire by no less than the highest official of the land? Would it even be a safe environment for the young women bearing the weight of their country’s hopes on their frail shoulders?


The latest word is that William Morris Endeavor/IMG, the current owner of the Miss U franchise, is backing out of the agreement with the government. Reporter Luis Carlo San Juan says that WME/IMG reportedly cited “political instability, security concerns and the Philippines not paying the hosting fee yet” as reasons for canceling the holding of the pageant here.

But could it also be personal?


There’s speculation that the franchise holder’s chief, Ari Emanuel, who happens to be Jewish, was offended by Du30’s reference to Hitler recently, which may explain why, in a rare show of humility, the President immediately apologized for his remarks to the Jewish community here. San Juan’s report also claimed that Emanuel is the brother of Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago and former chief of staff of US President Barack Obama who has been the subject of many a stinging reference by our President. Now our fearless leader must be eating his harsh remarks against the US president, if he still has an appetite for humble pie.

And don’t mind us women, Sir Digong. We have come to expect very little from you, especially an apology for your sexist comments that belie your sexist attitudes.

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TAGS: miss universe, Pia Wurtzbach, Rodrigo Duterte
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