Mistakes in Miss U fashion show
While the Department of Tourism (DoT) received plaudits for showcasing the diverse cultures of Mindanao in a recent fashion show of the Miss Universe beauty pageant, a house representative from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said more research should have been done with regards to the origins of the fabrics worn by the pageant candidates.
AMIN Party List Representative Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman noted that when the traditional Yakan tennun was modeled by some of the Miss Universe candidates, it was said the fabric originates from Zamboanga.
Apparently, the organizers were misinformed, Hataman stressed, as the cloth is a product of the people from the Yakan ethnic group of Basilan province, which is located west of Zamboanga.
The attire of the Yakan people, she explained, is made of the Yakan cloth which is hand-woven and comes in various colors. “Women in Basilan still wear the Yakan tennum during special occasions,” she said.
Hataman said that she received an invitation to watch the fashion show but she chose not to attend. However, she said she beamed with pride when she saw photographs from the show that highlighted the weaves and tapestry of Mindanao. “Yet 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 tennun, but of all the fabrics presented there, it would have made the contestants really proud to have worn them,” she pointed put.
The representative noted what while she had also joined beauty pageants in the past, she said she is no longer in agreement 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 feel less beautiful and it makes society in general actually see him or her as such,” she explained.
On other hand, she asserted that women who join beauty contests are not any less respectable. “Women belonging to the ethnic groups of Mindanao are can take part in them. We have been seeing so many amazing, socially relevant pageants, even pageants involving activists,” she said. “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.” Text and photo: Ayunan G. Gunting-Al Hadj