GABRIELA is scandalized by Asingan Bikini Open

MANILA: I am from Asingan in eastern Pangasinan; male, I am scandalized that "Gabriela criticizes Pangasinan LGU for town fiesta bikini open" (09 April 2016, GABRIELA Women's Party, gabrielawomensparty.net). I learned that on Facebook. I am not going to allow Gabriela to go scot free for the story that insinuates that Asingan alone is scandalous as far as women are concerned.

The above image is my screen capture from ItVideo (itvideo.me), which says the images are from the Asingan Bikini Open of 2015. The vlogger says, "This is Asingan's hottest show, so hot that the audience were furiously fanning themselves!" I say that that is an exaggeration, because the climate of Asingan is really hot during summer, and the town fiesta is held in early April.

"Bikini Open" means contestants can come from any town or city in the Philippines, even from abroad, Balikbayan, not that the bikini is "open" for everyone to see. ItVideo above says only the first contestant came from Asingan, "and the rest are beautifully distributed from different towns of the province." The girl shown above is from out of town; she is not wearing a bikini. This is just another beauty contest.

Now here's Gabriela saying about the Bikini Open in my hometown:

Gabriela Women’s Party today called to task local government leaders of Asingan, Pangasinan as raunchy photos of a bikini competition started to circulate in social media revealing the organizers and local government leaders’ lack of prudence and decency in organizing the show as part of the annual town fiesta. Men and women shown in the photos had the barest covers on their private parts and appeared in some shots to be engaging members of the audience with provocative gestures.

In fact, I can't find any Bikini Open images from last week's Asingan town fiesta that Gabriela is referring to. The photos circulating from the contest, says Gabriela, have been "revealing the organizers and local government leaders' lack of prudence and decency in organizing the show." In that case, that applies to all the cities and towns in the world, not only in Pangasinan, not only in the Philippines, where Bikini Opens are parts & parcels of annual festivities. In the eyes of Gabriela, so much of the world is imprudent and indecent.

Which reminds me, not even our Pope Francis has seen fit to speak against beauty contests, let alone Bikini Opens.

"Men and women shown in the photos had the barest covers on their private parts and appeared in some shots to be engaging members of the audience with provocative gestures." Gabriela doesn't know that a Bikini Open is a contest, and you have to do your best to show the judges that you are most desirable in shape and signs?

Reports from local residents and concerned citizens say the Bikini Open was part of the annual Asingan Town Fiesta held last week which had School Supervisor Dr Jimmy Laroya as Executive Chairman and Mayor Heidee Chua as Honorary Chairman. Also reportedly among the organizers were local barangay executives Larry Cardinez and Laly Fernandez.

I am not going to let Gabriela free after singling out Asingan and making it appear as the most scandalous town in the Philippines. Gabriela doesn't know, or did not bother to check, that in Pangasinan, Bikini Open as part of a town fiesta has been reported as far back as 2007 according to my Internet search, in Manaoag. Not only that, there have been since then Bikini Open contests in these 13 other towns in Pangasinan: Alcala, Bugallon, Calasiao, Dagupan, Lingayen, Malasiqui, Mapandan, Natividad, San Carlos City, Santa Barbara, Tayug, Urdaneta City, and Villasis, the last 3 being next to Asingan. So many scandalous towns in Pangasinan!

GABRIELA Women's Party is a leftist Philippine group "that advocates for women's issues" (Wikipedia). GABRIELA is acronym for General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership and Action. GABRIELA National Alliance of Women (is it different from the other GABRIELA?) of more than 200 organizations, institutions, desks and programs of women all over the Philippines (Gabriela Philippines, wordpress.com). "Gabriela is also at the forefront of national and international economic and political issues that (affect) women."

What has Gabriela done to deserve being a model of behavior for women? Gabriela says, among other things, "We vigorously campaign on women-specific issues such as women's rights, gender discrimination, violence against women, and women's health and reproductive rights" (GABRIELA Philippines, wordpress.com).

Her fight against "gender discrimination" means Gabriela wants equal rights. But there cannot be equal rights – men and women were not born equal, biologically, naturally – which is a good guide to what is right. "The pygmies, for example, or the Mindoro of the Philippines, do not want equal rights – they just want to be left alone" – Paul Karl Feyerabend, an Austrian-born philosopher of science best known for his work as a professor of philosophy at the University of California Berkeley (Wikipedia). If at all, right living is enjoying equal opportunities, not equal rights between men and women.

I concede: Violence against women is not debatable. "Violence against women is the last refuge of disgusting immoral men" – Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann, Austrian poet.

Women's health? How does Gabriela fight for women's health, I would like to know.

Reproductive rights is like this; a liberated woman says, "This is my body. I will do whatever I want with it." And that includes the right to harm it. For doesn't Gabriela know, don't women know that contraception is harmful to the woman's body? More so abortion. Women's  rights are not right for women.

Gabriela also said in that report:

For many years, we have been campaigning against the very concept of men and women’s bodies being commodified and we have been criticizing our unjust social structures that heighten the vulnerability of women and men, especially minors to exploitation in these sexually charged performances and display for commercial and political purposes. These types of shows are extremely dangerous and could consequently lead to an increase in the cases of violence against women and abuse.

So, is there a study or a discernment that because there are Bikini Opens all over the world, there have been increases in violence and abuse of women?

Does Gabriela know that even the ladies, from very young to very old, watch the Bikini Open? In other words, they don't see it as degrading. Spokesman for Gabriela Women's Party Metro Manila "(Arlene) Brosas warned that government leaders and public servants should realize that these shows degrade women and men's dignity and cultivate the view that women are sex objects." Meanwhile there are Bikini Opens all over the world; will Gabriela mind each one of them to teach organizers and local government leaders prudence and decency?

And Alden Richards of TV fame (with Maine Mendoza) has just hosted, 20 March 2016, the first ever Bikini Open in "Sunday PinaSaya" over at GMA (GMA Network, gmanetwork.com).

You go to a Bikini Open with an open mind. I could not attend the town fiesta this year, but if I were there, I would have watched the Bikini Open.

Which reminds me: If Gabriela believes in women's rights, why is she complaining that women gladly participate in a Bikini Open when every woman has the right to say, "This is my body; I will do whatever I want with it" – and go ahead and join a Bikini Open?!



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