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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Beauty Pageant

I went to bed late last night, almost 1am.because of one somewhat spectacular show on television: PEMILIHAN PUTRI INDONESIA (Miss Indonesia Pageant). What the hell out of the blue such a rubbish program attracted me very much so that I was willing to spend hours to sit in front of television? And I am not a television freak at all! I would rather sit in front of my dearest desktop for hours than sit in front of television, that’s for sure.
So why?
This Miss Indonesia Pageant was followed by 36 representatives from 33 provinces. The representative from Central Java-the province where Semarang my hometown is located-is my ex student of my ex workplace. This ex workplace left a bad taste in my mouth, but not my students. I always love them. Moreover I know that Elvaretta Nathania Gunawan-that ex student of mine-admitted that I was one of her inspiring role models in her life. :) (There is nothing wrong to be a narcissist, is there? LOL.)

More than a year ago Elva told me that Putri (Miss) Indonesia 2005-Nadine-inspired Elva to follow her step because of the mixed blood (white and Indonesian blood). Some articles I read in media said that the committee of the pageant selected Nadine to be the winner in 2005 because of the mixed blood. And Nadine is very tall for the average height of Indonesian women. It sounded ridiculous? Indeed. The committed was of opinion that to win Miss Universe pageant, (the winner of Miss Indonesia Pageant will be sent to Miss Universe Pageant), Indonesia needed to send someone who was tall (so that she would be easily spotted among other contestants from other countries). Nadine’s mixed blood absolutely made her face look like white people. Well, for this case, one can use pre-colonial theory stating that the white-referred to the colonial countries in the colonial time-were always superior than the colored. In Indonesia, fair complexion always means beauty. Naively the committee thought that Miss Indonesia never won Miss Universe yet because of this very “surface” things.

Elva thought that if Nadine could win Miss Indonesia Pageant mainly because of her mixed blood, Elva would be able to do the same.

Unfortunately, Nadine lost Miss Universe in 2006. She even failed to reach “the biggest 15 contestants” step that could be reached by the previous Miss Indonesia. With Nadine losing the pageant, Indonesian media cornered her and the committee because of the same thing: Nadine’s mixed blood. Miss Indonesia pageant must choose a girl who has really exotic Indonesian beauty, without mixed blood.

Nevertheless, this “accident” did not stop Elva to pursue her dream. More than a month ago, in her friendster profile, she wrote that she represented Central Java in Miss Indonesia Pageant 2007. Wow, it was very good for her because she could come closer to her dream-to be Miss Indonesia. However, remembering Nadine’s ‘accident’ about that mixed blood, I was even thinking that Elva’s mixed blood even would hamper her.

Btw, I know that many feminists mock this pageant things as putting women in their low rank because they are just judged only based on their physical beauty. The slogan of 3b-brain, beauty, behavior-is just slogan. However, in my opinion the main core of feminism is to let women make up their own minds in their life, without depending on anybody else. A woman can choose any career she wants-including to be a housewife and or a homemaker; one thing that was very downgraded by the second wave feminists in 1960s. This means a woman also has full right to join any pageantry and be responsible with the risk.

When Elva was chosen to be the biggest 5 finalists, I thought she deserved it. As one of her ex lecturer I know that she is smart, always eager to learn, and she belongs to the hardworking type. In this step, she could answer one jury’s question very convincingly and confidently. Unfortunately she did not go on to the following step, the biggest 3 finalists. This made me somewhat suspicious that her mixed-blood face hampered her. The committee did not want to get attacked by public, just like what they experienced with Nadine.

Well, anyway Elva must have felt satisfied enough to pursue her dream. At this step, to win or to lose is no longer important. Elva has done real things to make her dream come true. This struggle is more important.

For next year? Oh well, perhaps I will not really care anymore with this pageantry. LOL. But one thing: let women do things they believe that they are capable to pursue their dream, and let them become “the subject” and not only “the object”.

PT56 22.35 040807


Anonymous said...

Mengapa letakkan foto yang kurang sopan di blog ini?

A Feminist Blog said...

I am very sorry I don't agree with you to say that the pictures of Elva here are not polite. Definition of polite or not indeed is very personal, or cultural.
Anyway, thanks for dropping by at my blog.