Labatt calls for rethink on beauty contests

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OFWs relax in Central on their day off

A majority of the Filipino community in Hong Kong wants to end the practice of holding numerous beauty contests in the territory, Labor Attaché Jalilo dela Torre said.

Dela Torre said many beauty contests not only put Filipino women in a bad light as “objects of sexual exploitation” but they also leave domestic workers mired in debt.

“I’ve been taking the pulse ng community and it seems mas gusto ng karamihan na itigil na ito,” Dela Torre said in an interview.

“It’s not just from the point of view of promoting women as objects of sexual exploitation but yung indebtedness. Nangungutang yung contestants for the tickets
or the entry fee pero wala namang accounting,” he added.

Dela Torre said organizers sometimes demand as much as $1,000 from domestic workers so that they could join these contest.

“Susmaryosep. Around one-fourth of your salary na yun,” he said.

He urged Filipino organizations in Hong Kong to think of other ways to celebrate and promote Philippine culture.

“We’re calling organizations to rethink and review. Maraming paraan na kasiyahan. Pwedeng singing contest, cultural dance contest, o livelihood training,” Dela Torre said.

“Marami tayong tradisyon…Nagkakapera kasi ibang organizers,” he added.

Dela Torre said there was even an instance when a 56-year-old domestic worker won over younger contestants just because she was an “excellent fundraiser”.

“May isa, 56 years old na (pero) pabalik-balik. Magaling kasi na fundraiser,” he said.

He said he had received brickbats, with some saying that he was “clueless” and a “baldy”, because of his stance but he remained unperturbed.

“May foreigner nagsabi na clueless daw ako. Pati pagkakalbo ko, offensive daw. Yan ang mga nanunuod ng bikini contest,” Dela Torre said.

He summarized the arguments for or against beauty contests and said that those opposing these shows were more numerous.

He said the arguments against beauty contests included it promotion of women as objects of sexual exploitation, degrading the image of Filipinas; it leads to serious indebtedness for contestants, it possibly violates the Societies Ordinance, and it leads to corruption and organizational conflict because of lack of accounting of the funds raised.

Those supporting beauty contests only cited two: it strengthens self-esteem of contestants and raises funds for organizations, Dela Torre said.