06 August 2010

How Filipinas regard physical beauty

Pinoy soap opera Rosalka started by portraying the lives of its two main characters: Mariz Benitez-Florencio (Maja Salvador) and Devina Ventura (Melissa Cantiveros). The first is a top supermodel with a rich husband and a son, while the second is a market vendor with proud parents, loving neighbors and a faithful friend.

But both of them are troubled. Mariz had engaged herself in an extra-marital affair. Devina, or Devin, on the other hand, started to believe that her life would be better if she was pretty. Secretly, she wishes to be just like idol.

The adaptation was probably written in the mid- or late-80s; Precious Pages Corporation, publisher of the Precious Hearts Romances where the series was derived, started in 1992. It capitalized on the vulnerability of a plain, country girl who considered physical beauty as a prerequisite to happiness and satisfaction. But is that still the standard today? Had men begun to see past another person’s appearance?

Plastic surgery originated in India way ahead Jesus Christ was born. The first patient had been a man; Walter Yeo, a British soldier, was assigned to man guns aboard a battleship in Jutland. He lost his upper and lower eyelid during that war so he underwent a skin transplantation.

In the Philippines, there are 90 registered plastic surgery clinics that can lift thighs, augment breasts and suspend brows, among others. These procedures have enabled PM to wear tight shirts, MGA to look un-Filipina and RW to wear bikinis. There is no question anymore how some Filipinas regard physical beauty nowadays.

The issue now is if that should be the case. The issue now is if that should be the classification. The issue now is if that should be the perception. The issue now is if that should be the measure to withstand and survive.

Beauty, for some Filipinas, is perfection. Who, anyway, could tell the amiability of a person for company upon seeing the latter for the first time? Who would trust someone looking gruesome and hideous? Who would prefer an unattractive guy to a handsome fellow to spend the rest of your life with?

Currently, there are no regulations and restrictions in the Philippines that would guide interested parties to who should they approach for a certain procedure. Anyone can perform plastic surgery even without training. There are also no rules to penalize those who will commit mistakes; doctors just have to be certified by the Philippine Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons, Inc (PAPRAS) to reconstruct and beautify. And only 80 were certified.

* * * *

In another Pinoy soap opera, a rich guy fell in love with a poor hunchback.
They met when the girl moved to the city to work for his cousin’s parlor. They had bumped into each other in the terminal when the girl instantly felt a liking for him.

If it were not for the monster that transforms the girl into a beautiful woman every full moon, the guy wouldn’t go after her.

But could that really happen? Could a man really prefer his opposite’s sex inner characteristics from that person’s physical appearance? Moreover, could a Filipino fall in love with a Filipina short of his innate standards for a partner?

The Sunday Times thought about this question two years ago. From its respondents, it figured that an ideal woman is one who could cook, laugh at her man’s jokes, play sports, say “thank you,” understand weaknesses, and voice sentiments. It would also be a plus if the woman is honest, dependent and adaptive.

But that’s with the American men. What’s then with the Filipinos?

Unfortunately, there’s no concrete information on that in the web. But centuries ago, Cleopatra and Mark Antony fell in love with each other despite their differing homelands. Cleopatra even committed suicide upon learning Mark Antony’s death.

Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine de Beauharnais had remained in love with each other even when they ‘parted ways’ (Josephine couldn’t produce a heir). In fact, till Napoleon’s last breath, the Emperor of France maintained that France, armée, tête d’armée, Joséphine (France, army, head of the army, Joséphine).

Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built a monument for Queen Mumtaz Mahal (Arjumand Banu) who had died giving birth. King Edward VIII abdicated from his throne to marry an American socialite and divorcee.

The men mentioned might have come from different nationalities and statures, but they shared the same penchant for physically attractive women. Cleopatra was a “great beauty” that has “changed world history”. Josephine de Beauharnais was shapely and elegant. The Taj Mahal was a “tribute” to the “legendary beauty and virtue” of Mumtaz Mahal.

It was just a little different with King Edward III. He became ‘slavishly dependent’ to Wallis Simpson because of “her domineering manner and abrasive irreverence toward his position.” But just the same, Cleopatra, Josephine, Mumtaz and Wallis were all physically attractive. It would be wrong to miss that fact.


No comments: