on an otherwise quiet Saturday, driving home from a jog in the Fort, I could only be jarred into the realization that the cities we live in survive on activities within and in and by itself. and no this doesn’t mean fiestas anymore, not in this day and age.
it seems that the city’s local beauty pageant had just been held, a tarp with the Mayor’s face actually announces the event. the Miss Mandaluyong candidates had one tarpaulin each, hung on a post each, around the City Hall Rotonda.
tarps are the new “in” thing, a way of saying: “Sikat ako, ikaw?”
yes, those tangled wires represent the state of electrical maintenance in this city that has a beauty pageant. but i digress.
as i turn right into Boni, it takes me a while to realize that the set of tarps that line this narrower minor street actually has a different set of women. it was also about a different pageant altogether, one that obviously wasn’t just about beauty.
you are reading that right: Bilbiling Mandaluyong 2011. and i cannot tell you how stunned i was at the idea of a whole city having excess fat, though i imagine that is beyond what the city hall thought when they put together this pageant.
this pageant that we’ve actually seen done on TV and the movies, yes? but also in the current scheme of health consciousness and early mortality rates is just startling. the gut reaction is to think: how politically incorrect is this? the other reaction is: but who’s to say, really?
in these times when being healthy is everything and commercialized, when it necessarily sinks into a consumerist culture that’s about the brands that matter, the places to run in, the workouts to do. in these times when impossible thinness has come to be seen as normal; when all thinness requires is a lot of money to go to some slimming clinic of other of which there are plenty.
in these times when we should know better. we should know that half the time it isn’t about misrepresentation as it is about class, the other half maybe those who worry about the world less actually get it right. in these times when we should know that all the time we are all victims of the culture of beauty of any given time, and yes this includes the men, too. in these times when whitening the skin and straightening the hair, whittling the waist and trimming the thighs, and for men being buff and sleek and metrosexual, is what’s seen as normal.
maybe the ones who don’t want to take some diet pills have got it right, are actually better off, are actually on a healthier track spirit-wise.
i’m far from calling this revolutionary of course, but i will say this: maybe it makes for the most uncanny of steps in the right — because different — direction. hopefully these ladies refused to be made into the laughingstock of the pageant, ideally they are given the same kind of courtesy and respect accorded Ms. Mandaluyong. because there is more to Bilbiling Mandaluyong than the additional weight. especially if these Bilbiling candidates prove that their intelligence is just as big, their brilliance equally overwhelming.
now, maybe i hope for too much.