Beyond Beauty: Why Does The Philippines Love Beauty Pageants?

Beyond Beauty: Why Does The Philippines Love Beauty Pageants?
© Rungroj Yongrit/EPA-EFE

The Philippines, famous for being a country of beautiful islands in Southeast Asia, is also the country with the most beauty pageant winners in Asia. At every level of society, beauty pageants have become an integral part of Filipinos' daily lives.

The Filipinos' love for beauty pageants can be traced back to the Spanish colonial period where the Santacruzan Festival crowned the most beautiful girl as Queen Elena in a beauty pageant that became the root of their love.

During the American colonial period, this love was further entrenched in the Filipino consciousness through the Carnival Queens Competition, which crowned winners of exceptional beauty and talent.

The most historic moment, however, was when Gloria Diaz won the title of Miss Universe in 1969, the first major crown won by a Filipina. This feat made the then poverty-stricken country proud.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)
Gloria Diaz as Miss Universe (©


This escape from poverty was one of the reasons for the obsession with beauty pageants. For many Filipino women, beauty pageants became an opportunity to improve their lives. By participating and winning, they had the opportunity to earn prizes, scholarships, endorsement contracts, and opportunities in the entertainment industry. Beauty pageants became a way out that they believed could change their fortunes.

The Philippines has won six Miss International crowns, four Miss Universe crowns, three Miss Earth crowns, one Miss Trans Global crown, and one Miss World crown. With wins at Miss World 2013, Miss International 2013, Miss Earth 2014 and 2015, and Miss Universe 2015, the Philippines became the fastest country to win all the major beauty pageant titles in just three years.

As such, the Philippines is one of the most successful countries in international beauty pageants and ranks as the second most successful country in the world with a total of 15 wins. This achievement is not only something to be proud of, but it also promotes greater interest and passion in the world of beauty pageants in the Philippines.

Beyond beauty, the pageant also promotes national culture and awareness of certain global issues. Through this event, the Philippines can showcase its rich culture to the world and raise issues that are important to its society. Beauty pageants serve as a platform to advocate for social change, gender equality, and the well-being of society as a whole.

Media support, both national and social, is also an important factor. Extensive media coverage and comments from viewers provide strong encouragement to contestants and generate greater competitive spirit.

Keterangan Gambar (© Pemilik Gambar)

Deep-Rooted Culture

The Filipino obsession with beauty pageants is so ingrained in the culture that it is difficult to escape it and recognize its impact on women's empowerment. In the Philippines, beauty is more closely tied to the idealized image of women than in Western cultures.

The importance of beauty in the Philippines creates a phenomenon where beautiful women and beauty queens enjoy great popularity and power. There, the title of beauty can be transformed into a real opportunity to gain influence and power, which is different from the West or other countries where this is not often the case. Many former Philippine beauty queens have gone on to successful careers as influential actresses and politicians.

In addition, the beauty pageant industry in the Philippines is a multi-million peso industry. These pageants are always supported by sponsors who are willing to spend big bucks. The huge interest in beauty pageants makes these sponsors happy to invest in this promising industry.

However, there are different reactions to this obsession. Many believe that beauty pageants promote unrealistic standards of beauty and are just an excuse to ogle women. It also creates unrealistic stereotypes and preferences for many people. Therefore, many countries outside the Philippines are strongly against beauty pageants.

Despite all the assumptions and controversies, beauty pageants in the Philippines have long been a part of the society's culture. With its long historical roots and implications, it has become the branding of the country.

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