The 2016 Miss Universe pageant is over but a lawmaker from Mindanao just wants to set something straight.
While the Department of Tourism (DoT) received praises for showcasing the diverse culture of Mindanao in the Miss Universe fashion show held in Davao last month, Representative Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman of party-list AMIN pointed out on Monday, February 13, a mistake in identifying the origins of indigenous fabrics worn by some candidates.
Hataman noted that when the traditional Yakan tennun was modeled by some of the Miss Universe candidates, it was announced that the fabric originated from Zamboanga.
Apparently, the organizers were misinformed that the cloth is a product of the people from the Yakan ethnic group of Basilan province, which is located west of Zamboanga. Yakan people wear Yakan cloth, which is hand-woven and it comes in various colors.
“The most glaring error was the attribution of the tenun, which was produced by the Yakans of Basilan, not Zamboanga. The tenun is worn by the women in Basilan on special occasions,” she said in a statement.
Hataman, who received an invitation to see the fashion show but chose not to attend, said more research should have been done with regards to the origins of the fabrics worn by the pageant candidates.
“Being a traditional art advocate, I hope it was represented as a heritage, not just a cloth. If people understood their value and the story behind every piece, not just of the Yakan tenun, but of all the fabrics presented there, it would have made the contestants really proud to have worn them,” she said.
She beamed with pride when she saw photographs from the show that highlighted the weaves and tapestry of Mindanao.
She said, while she had also joined beauty pageants in the past, she no longer agrees with the way pageants set a standard for beauty for women, or even men.
“This is just a personal conviction, but I am of a belief that every man or woman is beautiful. Having beauty pageants may make one who is not the supposed standard of beauty, feel less beautiful and it makes society in general to actually see him or her as such,” she explained.
On other hand, she asserted that women who join beauty contests are respectable.
“Women belonging to the ethnic groups of Mindanao can take part in them. We have been seeing so many amazing, socially relevant pageants, even pageants involving activists. But if they do join, it has to be a personal decision and not as a Filipino Muslim. Islam does not encourage the public display of beauty, as it places much emphasis on modesty, not just in the manner of dressing, but in behavior as well,” she said.