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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Have We Redefined The Words "Honor" And "Hero"?

I looked at for the definitions of these two words, and for everyone's perusal:

Honor - honesty, fairness or integrity in one's beliefs and actions.

Hero - a person of distinguished courage or ability, adnired for brave deeds or noble qualitites.

So it comes as a complete shock when people are now relating those two words with one Miss Shamcey Supsup, Ms. Universe 2011 Third Runner-Up.

(Photo courtesy of

What comes to my mind when I see beauty pageants is one word: Meat.

Alternately, I also think of cattle. Or expanding on it, a meat market. For a certain, uh, segment/demographic of the male population. (When I first heard of Donald Trump buying the Ms. Universe organization, all I could think of was "What? He needs his own stable now?")

Let's call it what it is. Enough of the flowery words, or the supposed goodwill.

A candidate's score is based on how she looks in a swimsuit and a nightgown.

HELLO. (Hypocrites, you may desist from reading further.)

Anything that is based on one's looks, or how one's body is shaped in clothes - minimal and otherwise - can never be included in any definition of the words "honor" or "hero".

And yet, the internet and traditional media are all abuzz with how Supsup brought us "great honor" as a nation. And some comments in those reports have called her a "hero" and that she may somehow help us "regain our country's dignity".

Excuse me?

How does having a 36-24-36 figure, long held as the "ideal sexy body measurements", bring honor?

Is it heroic to possess a beautiful face or body?

And the physical attributes of one person regains our dignity as a nation?

Calling on the DECS (Department of Education, Culture and Sports) and CHED (Commission on Higher Education): We need to strengthen the vocabulary of our students. As well as of our lawmakers, apparently.

Even they think that Supsup has brought "honor". And one lawmaker, Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, wants to file a resolution to that effect. ( Good grief. I suppose it comes as no surprise, because our lawmakers are still referred to as "honorable" (as in The Honorable Congressman from so-and-so province), even if many of them are anything but what that word suggests and undeserving of any kind of respect. With so many pieces of legislation that need pressing attention, this is what they choose to focus on?

And for beauty pageant defenders, stop the hilarious justification that candidates' intelligence levels are also tested, with a single question.

I will concede that the nerves of a person are indeed tested, as it can never be easy for anyone to be placed on the spot, especially if you have to answer a question in front of millions of people while dressed next to nothing.

But to say that this is an effective gauge of one's intelligence is an insult to people who value it.

As well, the use of the words "honor" and "hero" are an insult to those individuals or groups that embody these concepts in their very lives.

A child who rushes back to her burning house to save her siblings - THAT'S a hero.

Firefighters and health workers who rushed into the attacked building on Sept. 11, 2001 to see who they could save, THAT'S heroism.

Equating an almost-win in an international beauty pageant to what these heroes risked for out of conviction and ideals is a monumental slap to them. Beauty pageants serve to glorify all the worst parts of humanity: an obsession with beauty, equating this obsession with same reverence we should be having for scientists who are constantly looking for ways to combat HIV, cancer and other life-threatening diseases, valuing a woman for her looks and only for that alone, the obvious treatment of these contestants as commodities, mere objects and toys to shine and parade around with, the utter degradation of women as well as setting back all the gains that women have achieved in their (it seems never-ending) quest for equality and to be seen as equals. (Even today, a tough man in business is called "a great boss" while a woman with the same temperament is labeled a "bitch".)

Which I am sure is what Ms. Supsup will be doing when she arrives back home: Be in an actual parade as she is paraded around as a testament of this country's "honor" and "dignity", a new "hero".

You'll excuse me if I don't show up, as I don't see any reason to be festive. I try not to be in places where IQ is not only devalued, but seen in a derisive light.

Just when I thought it was once again cool to be a nerd.


  1. not only do the contestants look alike, resembling each other more than typifying the women of their respective nationalities, but the inside stories that have leaked out over the years bring to mind a pack of ruthless, scheming cutthroat competitors who could put a school of piranha to shame. Plus the whole thing is run by Trump. Need anything more be said?

  2. You don't need to show up to witness the honor. I'd be there if I could... for the meat.

  3. are we even surprised of the values that Pinoys have??? Beauty Pageants and Boxing matches are more anticipated than the president's State of the Nation Address.