The Philippines’ newly-crowned Miss Universe Catriona Gray remarked that there is “beauty” in poverty in the interview section of the pageant which was held in Manila, Philippines this year. The interview sections of beauty pageants are usually the butts of popular jokes. This time, however, Gray, one of the more widely-admired Miss Philippines personalities, drew mixed reactions and a robust debate around the issue of how Filipinos choose to regard poverty.
There really is nothing “beautiful” about poverty. Poverty sucks. Poor people stink. The idea of “helping the poor” rubs hardworking taxpayers the wrong way. Liberalism — a once noble concept — was perverted beyond all recognition by a misguided clique of extremist shills. It didn’t help either that the Philippines’ army of online “social justice warriors” (SJWs), professional rallyists, and armchair “economists” took a break from their “activism” to follow and issue their two-cent blow-by-blow commentary on this year’s Miss Universe pageant. What could have been an event that all Filipinos could enjoy became a platform for the usual two-bit “debate” that characterises the Philippines’ intellectually-bankrupt political discourse.
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This is, of course, a beauty pageant we’re talking about here. But the baffling obscurity of this fact did not stop the usual screaming SJWs from turning it into their personal platform for propagating their cancerous political correctness. A competing topic, in fact, was the presence of Spanish candidate Angela Ponce who is the first transgender to compete in the event. The idea that a surgically-engineered human would compete in a beauty event evidently rubbed many conservatives the wrong way. And the arguments fielded by the more liberal of Miss Universe fandom revolved more around an entitlement of people with “unconventional” lifestyle choices to participate in any human endeavour. One can easily see right there that there is no common ground for any sort of intelligent debate seeing that one side (I’ll leave it to the reader to work out which one) chose a carrot as a weapon in this duel of wits.
Unfortunately, what could have been a more interesting discussion was eclipsed by Gray’s use of the words “beauty” and “the poor” in the same statement. This, of course, brings back to the fore the fundamentally-flawed way Filipinos regard poverty — that all-too-familiar “blessedness” of the poor ingrained into their pointed heads by the Roman Catholic Church. The trouble with beauty pageants and the crown jewel of this industry — the Miss Universe franchise — is that it triggers a deeply-ingrained guilt-trip in a society conditioned to feel guilty about aspiring to own nice things. In Gray’s statement alone, one can see the effect of this emotional blackmail on a national scale — a patholgical need of an entire society to bring up the “plight” of the poor on any occassion — even in the midst of what is essentially a celebration of glitz, glamour, and the products of the tiny elite cross-section of the human gene pool that expresses exceptionally rare anatomical results in the fortunate individuals who carry its DNA.
The best course would have been to not bring up poverty to begin with. There is a time and place to talk about “the poor”. A beauty pageant where every one of the participants is not poor in the real sense of the term is society’s big vacation from a massive centuries-old guilt trip. The poor can be talked about during election campaigns, or when forcing kids to eat whatever is served to them on the table, or when one needs to be reminded not to complain about their jobs while in the middle of their two-hour lunch breaks. When one needs to apply a bit of healthy perspective to their First World problems is the best time to spare half a second on the “plight” of “the poor”. But to bring up the Poverty Card and wax poetic victim mentality during the Miss Universe pageant is just plain OA. Most people prefer to forget the poor while watching beautiful women strut their equipment on the catwalk. And that is a fact.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.