Jessy Mendiola And Slut-Shaming: Why Filipinas Hate Confident Sexy Girls

Disclaimer: This article is plucked from my personal social network and experiences based from my own limited reality.
FHM.com.ph
FHM.com.ph

“Apparently men can gawk at women, but when we realize how beautiful we are we’re suddenly full of ourselves.” – Kim Kiyun

I just want to say – I don’t usually care about pinoy showbiz but the amount of sexist bullshit I’ve seen from SO MANY OF MY FB “FRIENDS,” especially adult women, has been shocking and disheartening.

It was impossible to ignore my newsfeed as it ran with numerous malicious posts about an “arrogant, unworthy” sexy celebrity who had no skill besides “taking her clothes off.”

  • “Bes muntik ka nang matalo ni Nadine nang walang hubad-hubad. Sana humble lang bes. Humble lang po bes.” (Girl, Nadine almost beat you without needing to take her clothes off. You could at least be humble)
  • “Lumake ulo ni baby girl.” (Baby girl’s ego got big)
  • “LAMI UNTA KA …. PERO BITCH LANG hahahahaha …” (You’re sexy but too bad you’re a bitch)
  • “congratulations Jessy Mendiola for being the most bashed and most hated winner in FHM’s history! Hahahaha. ️mao na kay naay Attitude Problem. nakatilaw ra gani ug no. 1 mag piniling na! Dont compare your self to Pia Wurtzbach besh coz your not even half of what she achieved in life.” (It’s because you have an attitude problem. You just found out how it feels like to be number one yet you’re already full of air.)
  • “Woow! Mabuhay yang winning statement mong UNCLASSY and CHEAP all the way!!! Lol.” (Wow! Long live your winner statement which is unclassy and cheap all the way!!! Lol)
  • “Its not that i dont like her ,and yeah i admit im not a fan of hers, but i think she doesnt know how to humble herself..”

WTF right? I felt compelled to google what the heck was going on, so I did.

To pinoys who prefer to live under a rock like me, here’s the down-low:

For Him Magazine (FHM) Philippines published its annual ranking of 100 Sexiest Women In The Philippines. Jessy Mendiola, a rising actress whose celeb status sparked online when she began dating a famous actor, was voted number one by fans. People were already dissatisfied by this.

Then yesterday, FHM held its victory party where Jessy was asked by the media about her haters A.K.A people who were pissed she won because apparently this contest is of national importance. This is where the Philippines imploded upon itself.

At first, I assumed there was something else to the story. Maybe she said something more, something blatantly offensive. Maybe her tone of voice was misconstrued. So I watched the video. (skip to 1:00)

Are you with me yet?

There’s nothing wrong there. Why then did it seem like the entire country (or at least my Facebook feed and that of my friends’ Facebook feeds) was in an uproar? Because a woman comfortable with her body had the audacity to show and voice her confidence.

People are enraged at her because:

  1. She publicly stated her satisfaction in winning.
  2. She very obviously joked she won over Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach.
  3. She won over Nadine Lustre, a celebrity whose persona is that of sweetness and innocence.
  4. Add to that her “crime” of “breaking up” a beloved power couple whose public persona is also centered on sweetness, and wherein the ex-girlfriend Angel Locsin is mega-popular and hailed as a girl-next-door.

Let me be clear: Nadine, Pia, Angel and Jessy have zero fault here. The problem stems from the people reacting on social media.It would be understandable had such insensitive and nasty reactions come from a 14-year-old, but these are mature 20-30 somethings we’re talking about. And in the age of technology where information is available to us 24/7 (yes, even with deliriously slow mobile data), this level of ignorance is inexcusable especially when we #feminism the captions to our instagram selfies.

Please stop perpetuating the idea women must compete with other women.

Please stop slut-shaming Jessy Mendiola.

Please stop calling her arrogant or needing a dose of “humble pie.” There’s nothing arrogant about her comment, you have just been brought up to HATE and condemn proud, confident, and sexually open women.

Please stop hating on her just because she “destroyed” your favorite love team. This isn’t a teleserye where you get a free pass to irrationally resent any woman who dates the leading man who is not the leading woman.

Please stop saying someone else “who didn’t need to be naked or dress promiscuously” should’ve won and almost won. (they didn’t, get over it)

Please stop posting photos of her claiming she got “fat” and doesn’t deserve the win. (she didn’t and this is beside the point)

Please stop projecting your own lack of self-security towards women who are secure with themselves.

Please stop talking like one type of woman is better or worse than another because we are not products to be compared or auctioned.

Just please stop for a second and try to filter what you post – even if it’s about celebrities.

The amount of clothes a woman wears does NOT EQUAL how much self-respect and dignity she has or deserves. If you think a girl is of less value and honor because she’s “dressed and acts sexy” and another girl is better because she’s “covered and dressed properly” – that is fucked up.

The problem does not lie with the girls. It lies with how YOU view them – as pretty things to look at, as objects that compete with one another.

I’ve seen more respect given towards roosters in a cock fight than what Jessy has gotten today.

Even Pia publicly tweeted she was not offended by the very harmless joke.

Yet people are still calling for Jessy to burn at the stake. People are still applauding Pia for “being humble” (by calling out how dumb and dramatic you are acting???) and condemning Jessy for being “jealous” of Pia who is “still better than you! she’s classy and miles out of your league!” 

I honest-to-god have never seen so many resentful people collectively and simultaneously fabricate drama out of thin air.

So why the hatred? Why the celebratory slut-shaming? Why are our girls ganging up together to hate on one female?

The answer may be in our culture itself.

“Trainwreck is a blistering indictment of how history has normalized sexism as entertainment, defining—and destroying—the women we claim to love.” – Andi Zeisler

The Philippines has a near-obsession with soap operas and Miss Universe: platforms which arguably sell the pitting of women against each other for the privilege of being the fairest of them all. No, I’m not saying Miss Universe or other beauty pageants are a step down for women. I personally believe they’re being feminists in their own way. In fact, pageants have often proven to be a place of genuine solidarity and sisterhood. Plus they promote charitable or environmental causes and that’s admirable!  So if these tickle your fancy then go, go, go sago.

But we can not deny this basic mindset encourages the glorification of the “Madonna” (in this case Angel, Pia, and Nadine) – women who are seen as pure, mild-mannered, lady-like, intelligent, seemingly unaware of their physical attractiveness, yet still sensual (but not in an intimidating way which threatens the womanhood of the female audience).

And we can not deny this contributes to our internalized misogyny which leads then to the vilification of the “Mistress/Whore” (in this case, Jessy) – women who are seen as offensive, bold, or straight-forward. They’re too sexy and they KNOW they’re sexy. Because of this we fear they will seduce our boyfriends and steal attention away from girls who are more demure, more fragile, more worthy.

The media and show business of the country itself not only advocates this mindset, but is also guilty for blowing-up the drama, inventing controversy, and feeding it to the bored and gullible public.

For decades Filipinas have been bombarded by movies and TV shows about the evil mistress. Majority of visual entertainment produced in the Philippines – no matter the plot, cast, or location – involves an affluent hot young woman whose sole goal in life is to seduce the hero from the heroine who happens to be a shy, bare-faced, wholesome Maria Clara.

It matters little if you were born impoverished, average, or privileged. There is no escaping it.

This is how we grew up.

Perhaps it isn’t the threat of sluts dirtying our sanctity that’s the issue here. Perhaps it’s the threat of a self-aware woman who doesn’t need to be told by society when she is and when she isn’t allowed to be beautiful, proud, or sexual.

“Okay, let’s just say I have banged forty guys. What’s the problem? You’re just jealous ’cause you’ve been brainwashed by puritanical assholes who believe sex is a sin. Then again your little gerbil-sized brain has been reprogrammed by the media to believe sex is the be-all, end-all. So now you’re stuck, right? ‘Cause on one hand, you love to fuck, but afterwards you feel overwhelmed by guilt and you’re not sure why. Maybe it’s because sex is neither as good or as evil as you’ve built it up to be.” – Kat Dennings in Daydream Nation

It’s sexist to judge women for what they enjoy and police how they behave because it doesn’t fit with your standards of humility. Constructive criticism does not involve taking a poop on someone because you don’t think they’re being humble enough. To quote feminists: a woman does not need to be modest in order to be respected and modesty alone does not equal beauty.

“But they joined! They knew what they were getting into! Of course they are going to be criticized and this is just my opinion! Freedom of speech!” Um… yeah, no that’s still not an excuse for you to be misogynistic or petty. As the audience, we have a responsibility to be informed and to think about, REALLY THINK ABOUT, the effects of our words.

Sure, posting your rant on social media may seem trivial, but it encourages the culture of internalized misogyny we’ve been brought up with. Unless Filipinas actively pull against the tide of cultural sexism, our feminism is for naught.

So if you see your girl friends tweeting venomously against Jessy or any other female for that matter, celebrity or not, inform them politely how harmful their comments can be because their parents will not do that for them, their society will not do that for them, their schools, their churches, their governments will not do that for them – all are responsible for and complicit in nurturing the self-hatred we have towards our body, our selves, and our sisters. We must empower each other through knowledge and education untainted by sexist undertones of a severely conservative and religious environment.

It’s perfectly cool for Jessy Mendiola to have her moment and own it. Dismantle the idea that a woman’s healthy self-confidence is cocky, or narcissistic, or vain. Women are allowed to be unapologetically proud of themselves without risk of being put down by everyone else.

If you’ve reached this point and still boldly believe Jessy is unworthy, Jessy is fat, Jessy is disappointing, Jessy is a home-wrecker, Jessy is pretentious, Jessy deserves the hate, etc. etc. etc.

I hope you can take a second to inspect yourselves internally and ask – why do you react this way? Why do you think it’s okay to talk this way? Who taught you to be like this?

It’s really gross and sad to see. And actually proves Jessy’s comment right about you being a bitter hater.

I guess it doesn’t matter how rich you are, or how educated you are… when it comes to being sexist by slut-shaming other women and demonizing the female body, we Filipino girls (and boys) are experts. No one hates our own gender more than we do.

P.S. More importantly, Jessy will never know you and doesn’t give a shit about you. Work that runway, girl. TC mark

I asked women to be honest about their Instagram photos

“The essays in this book are short and sweet, and incredible. Love love loved this.” — Alex

“I’m so in love with this book! It’s so moving and some of the stories bring me to tears not because it’s sad, but because it’s relatable and shows that we’re not alone.” — Kendra

This is the reality of Instagram...

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