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Monday, July 23, 2012

Venus And Our Collective Neuroses

The fall of the fair-skinned? Not at this time.
(Courtesy of

Watching the Venus Raj story in MMK (Maalaala Mo Kaya) highlighted a few things, some we already knew but never wanted to admit.

1. We are racists. In this country, white skin equals beautiful, dark skin means shame and ridicule.

2. We love the underdog. A large part of Manny Pacquiao's appeal is his rise from humble beginnings. The same can be said of Venus Raj's story. She was regularly made fun of for not being fair skinned, and went on to win Bb. Pilipinas.

3. It shouldn't be, but our self-esteem is largely tied to how we look. We should just hope that we are the "current flavor" for beauty pageants and advertisers.

4. Teachers have a free pass to be involved with students, the loophole being that these students have low self-esteem to begin with. (To be fair, Venus' mom was against the relationship from the start.)

5. Joining pageants to earn money to help the family gives it a sheen of nobility of purpose.

6. It's disturbing for a woman found laughable because of her dark skin to seek validation from an industry that promotes the unreal ideal of "perfect" body measurments and looks from its' participants. But then we decry corrupt politicians all the time and continue voting for them the following elections. So it's par for the course.

7. Mothers have the final say. Period.

8. I wish this country understood that being valued for your looks is not female empowerment, or feminism at work, it is the precise opposite of what the movement stands for. (I was just informed that there are only 1000 of us in a country of 100 million citizens who believe this.)

9. Venus' story is supposed to be the triumph of the dark-skinned over the fair. While her story was on break, I was regaled with ads for whitening creams.

10. The current career path of Venus as a host ensures that beauty pageants will always be filled with women wanting their share of the spotlight.

And so, here we are, circa 2012.

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