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Thursday, March 1, 2012

In Defense Of Whoring

That Bela Padilla appeared in a perceived "racist" cover for the magazine FHM recently doesn't strike me as odd, given what the magazine here (and elsewhere in the world) has been doing: whoring women.

(Photo courtesy of

What's one more outlandish act that demeans a segment of the population? (Outlandish and mind boggling by 2012 standards, that is.)

That no one raises a ruckus at seeing scantily clad women "gracing" magazine covers is a sign of our times. That we do not say anything, and view these as "stepping stones" in their so-called careers, just demonstrates how repeated exposure to these "standards" makes us numb all over.

I actually believe Bela and the FHM editors/owners who unanimously say that there was no intention to be racist.

They cannot say the same, though, for reducing women to the mere sum of their (perfect) parts.

Month after month, when I pass by book stores - yes, some of us still like to go through the printed word, in this age of tablets, making me a dinosaur, haha - I see these women: generic and forgettable even in their heavily made up faces, but always in a thong and brasseries of various persuasions, posing ever so willingly for their salivated 15 minutes.

I'm not a prude, and I'm not religious. If they want to engage in porn, then call it what it is. But treating anyone in this fashion - "celebrated" only because they happen to have the ideal body measurements as dictated by the beauty/fashion industry, is beyond shallow. (Which is why I don't find "beauty contests" any different. They should really just discard that supposed barometer of intelligence - the "final question" - in these events. You are given a score for your waistline and breast size. Period.)

Paying these women to show off skin to sell more copies - whoring.

Wannabes who strip to get fame - whoring.

My definition of whoring is using a body - any body - to get something else.

At least those bikini contests I see on beach parties are unapologetically honest: they want to see which female body gets the most erectile reactions. Catcalls, rude remarks, whistling - it's about sex, it's raunchy, it's a basic human need, it's a part of all of us.

It's when these purveryors attempt to inject lofty ideals into their blatant manipulation of baser instincts which invariably ticks me off.

"We're really helping these girls make a bright future for themselves!"

"My body is a temple of God, I'm not ashamed of baring it for everyone to admire God's handiwork!"

"We're promoting world peace and cross cultural understanding!"

Why am I even surprised at these rationalizations? We've mastered hypocrisy exquisitely as a nation.

Was it a year ago, when the clothing company Bench released an ad campaign that featured scantily clad male jocks, and made conspicuously and visually available along EDSA? How quickly our male politicians made their protestations known - It's indecent! It's demeaning! My kids will see this! Scandalous!

Nakakababa pala ang pakiramdam kapag ginawa din sa lalaki. (Men also feel demeaned and belittled when they are made out to be mere sex objects.)

Their deafening silence on the continued objectification of women speaks volumes on our mastery of the concept of hypocrisy.

So, really, Bela and FHM need not apologize for supposedly expressing "racism".

Why bother.

No one - in power or the reading public - seems to think misogyny is unacceptable.


  1. As a woman, I thank you for this post.

  2. You're welcome. Like that column title in a major paper says, let's "Call A Spade A Spade".

    1. Whatever freighted term we use to describe the phenomenon, it's hard to contest the claim that women are badly used by the commercial use of sex appeal. Of course, men indirectly are affected adversely as well, because commercialization creates unrealistic expectations in real relationships with real women.
      How much responsibility, though, do we place on the women who stand to gain (or believe they do) by selling their images (or, in some cases, their bodies) for money? Considering that we all have to "sell" ourselves in order to survive in the sort of economy we have, how much of the onus of resisting that commercial imperative should we place on the women themselves? I'm not sure I want to judge them too quickly or too harshly for their actions.
      Moreover, I wonder whether mutually respectful, mutually beneficial exchanges of sex for cash between men and women is always worse than legitimate relationships (including marriage) in which men and women participate in an "economy" in which women accept security and lifestyle perks in return for marital obligations. This seems especially problematic in marriages that have become loveless and are maintained for reasons other than mutual affection and caring.

    2. I absolutely agree with the last paragraph you wrote: at least in a "sex only" transaction, there is an endpoint. In a marriage, it's akin to selling your entire life just to get the perfect kitchen setting. I personally know of many couples who choose to stay together "for the children" or because "sayang naman ang 20 years namin na pagsasama." At least those are better reasons than "I'll lose all my material benefits if I leave this marriage."