An Ugly Head in A Beauty Pageant

The Philippines has a serious colorism issue. It was on full display in the international community when many Filipinos were called out by Miss Universe Canada 2020 Nova Stevens for their racially charged comments.

The beauty queen posted her side profile with screenshots of comments by random Filipinos whose photos and names were blurred.


MISS Universe Canada Nova Stevens.

The comments were in Filipino: “I thought she was a ghost,” “I’m not judging but I’m really scared of her for real, like she is not human,” “Over well-done ang chicken,” “Tostadong tostado na nga, NASUNOG pa.” These were translated and superimposed in her photo.

“Looks like some people are still stuck in their ignorant and racist ideologies. I’m really disappointed with some pageant fans from certain countries.

Your hate takes away the fun and enjoyment from this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Is it really that difficult to spread love instead of hate? No one is saying you HAVE to support all contestants, all we’re saying is that you support your delegate without bringing others down,” Nova wrote.

She later clarified that she does not generalize Filipinos to be racist. “I’m sharing this as a teaching moment so that we can make pageants fun and enjoyable for all,” she wrote.

The Miss Universe 2020 pageant reaches its peak this week with the coronation set for 16 May in Florida, United States. Many fans are zealously supporting their bets, and many Filipinos, whether casual or avid pageant fans, have been keeping tabs on the pre-pageant activities.


RABIYA Mateo is the Philippines’ bet to the 69th Miss Universe.

To see some Filipinos being asses on social media is nothing new. As a free platform, no one can really dictate what they feel like writing. That’s the sad part there though.

That derisive behavior by being prejudiced against dark skin has gone its way to social media. Admit it, many of us had heard of the remarks “baluga,” “negra,” “ulikba” being uttered in jest or in passing without even thinking of its grave effect on the person being targeted.

There’s that sick mentality that one cannot be too onion-skinned to take “jokes” seriously even if it was given at one’s expense. Just look at many Filipino shows and movies. Filipino slapstick comedies have featured punchlines or situations that make fun of people of color and many laugh and do not see anything wrong with it.

It even becomes quite a losing debate when it comes to perception of beauty among Filipinos. Most would say that they favor light-skinned ones. How? The popularity of whitening products and services reinforces that bias.

It’s ironic how in an event that celebrates beauty such thinking rears its ugly head. Amid these trying times, it seems that it still is not enough to be even human at this point.

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