On Being Filipino (American) and Winning Miss Universe.
Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is the third Filipina, after Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margarita Moran (1973), to have won the title of Miss Universe. These three among the numerous other awards Filipinas have won in beauty pageants like Miss World, Miss International, and Miss Earth.
I wanted to be more critical of this “triumph” for my community as many Filipinos see it in the diaspora and the Philippines.
Although, to a certain degree, I am filled with nationalistic pride, I am also weary for the implications that this win has to my community. With the threats of the United States militarizing the Philippines again ( a whole different conversation we can talk about) and many Filipinas sold as mail-order-brides, what does this “win” mean to Pinays?
It’s ironic how Wurtzbach glorified the United States when the militarization of the Philippines and the development of bases in Clark and Subic have lead to the commodification of women through the establishment of a very active sex tourism industry around the area. Not to mention the many Amerasian children left by these U.S. service men from when the Philippine bases served as a crucial location for American presence in the Asia Pacific. So how will Pinays be affected now?
How will Pinays be seen world wide when many people think of Filipinas as mail-order-brides? You cannot tell me that this “victory” will not lead to more fetishization and commodification.
I don’t even want to start with colonial mentality and how these affects young Filipinas when looking for role models when literally they are filled with ideas that the closer you are to being white, the prettier you are.
BUT, please don’t crucify her for winning because she’s mixed. She’s just as Filipino as any other people. Don’t erase the struggles of mixed Filipinos in the world.
Yes, it’s a “win”. But how can we as Filipinos celebrate and be more critical of this?