There is no denying that a can of worms has been opened. Beauty pageants have always been a hotbed for lewd and entitled behavior for rich and shady dirty old men a.k.a. DOMs. Women are forced to attend dinner parties with only men present. Let’s not forget boat parties, where propriety sinks and lechery swims. Let’s also not forget that classic maneuver called chancing (a vintage term used by DOMs to take a chance on women in an aggressive and disrespectful manner). As bright as the stage lights are, what happens backstage is dark and unspeakable.
I was always wondering when all of this would go down in the Philippines. I have heard things here and there. Whispers that are meant to go nowhere and benefit no one. This scandal seems to be the pivotal moment. Three brave women from the Miss Earth pageant have publicly shared their experiences on social media: Canada’s Jamie VandenBerg, England’s Abby-Anne-Gyles-Brown and specifically Guam’s Emma Sheedy, who named the particular sponsor Amado S. Cruz as the reigning a**hole.
Blatant harassment, play for pay overtures, and organizers accused of being blasé towards the safety of these women have come to light. In this instance, the women who have experienced such treatment from men have been hailed as brave and iron-willed. This gives me a feeling that more women will be coming out with their own stories in the coming weeks. They should not be damned, they should be heard.
My side of the Miss Earth International Experience: - After a year and a half of preparation for my first beauty pageant; the Miss Earth pageant, I was excited to travel back to the Philippines for the 6th time. The hospitality of the Filipinos is not found anywhere else. The Philippines is like a second home to me. I joined the pageant to make a difference and be a role model to those around me. I enjoyed a majority of the pageant, but what I did not know, is that a specific sponsor from the Manila Yacht Club would change the way I see pageantry and sponsors. The sponsor who’s name is Amado S. Cruz became a problem for many of the delegates, including myself. To focus on ONLY myself, I was pulled aside multiple times to be invited to Boracay, private islands and into his house and insisted that I and “the latino women dance for him.” Amado S. Cruz grabbed my bare backside at the National Costume Competition where I was able to push him away, but he consistently told me not to tell anyone about any of the instances. At the Manila Yacht Club, Amado S. Cruz ensured that the team managers and security personnel were separated in another room, this is where he made many girls uncomfortable. A groups of us left the room because we felt uncomfortable, but Amado S. Cruz followed us and insisted that we stayed inside to dance with him. We asked our team managers to bring us to the busses, which took over 20 minutes for them finally to do. Later on that night @missjaimeyvonne and @Miss.Earth.England spoke on the phone with Lorraine Schuck, the Vice President of Miss Earth, who assured them that Amado S. Cruz would not be at any other event. From the moment the pageant started until coronation night, Amado S. Cruz was at every event and dinner he could physically get to. Since other delegates have posted, multiple other queens from past years have come out about the same behavior. I want to help put a stop to this sponsor being apart of the Miss Earth International Pageant because he has become a problem for years. #missearth2018 #missearth #MeToo @missearth
To state the obvious, it is hard to be a woman in the Philippines. While men require the bare minimum to be extolled, women struggle with a million and one expectations in order for them to be respected and acknowledged.
In light of these things, it’s a comfort to know that the world is changing and men of a certain era should also learn to adapt. I do know it was a different time. Drinking scotch for breakfast at the office, casually banging the secretary and simply being an octopus around women was accepted behavior. Well, sorry guys. You do any of this today, prepare to get shanked.
So here’s a simple guide on how to be a decent human being in 2018.
1. Know that they are not asking for it. Women dress up to express themselves. Sure, they want to look attractive, but this is never an invitation for unwanted advances. Even if she’s wearing a tube top that’s the size of a leg warmer—just, no. Slut shaming and the victim shaming that follows hold no water in today’s court of the people. Prepare to find yourself wet with pure shame instead. No one is above the law in this case. Tycoons can fall so easily from the ladders that they’ve carefully built all their lives. No is a serious word, and for the men who still can’t seem to grasp the concept of the word—make the word no into a verb instead. Meaning just don’t do anything.
2. Keep your hands to yourself. Say it with me: consent, consent, consent. As shocking as this may seem to a wild man about town, you really need to ask before you let any part of your body touch a woman. That includes your foot. It is required for you to actually say, “Is it ok to put my arms around you?” Never assume.
3. Your staff is not employed by your shaft. Secretaries, interns and any female employee are off-limits. Sure office romances are hot. Just as long as they are truly adult romances. Not a quid pro quo deal. Never use your position in the company as leverage. Give them that promotion because they work hard in the office and not because they’ve zipped down your trousers. Don’t think a woman who runs away from you is playing hard to get. She really is running away from you.
4. Easy on the phone. If you think she will be worn down by your persistence then you should step away from that rotary phone and know that it’s gross to get unwanted calls. If she doesn’t pick up after the third try, cut your losses and delete her number. The modern woman knows what she wants. A stalker is not one of them.
5. Learn how to foster a safe environment. Be that enlightened man who not only acts properly but also acts as a beacon to your friends. I suggest you watch Mad Men and do the exact opposite. It’s a new era and everyone is vulnerable. Even the kings of the world. Be humble and know you are nothing but a big fish in a small pond. You can tell your friends that too. Deep pockets are also there for naughty hands
At the end if you still can’t grasp this decent person thing, just know one thing: money is king. Many great monsters have fallen by the lashing by economics. It’s never good for business. If this is the only way to get you sorted then you must know: no one will touch you if you touch everyone.