It’s all over Facebook. A girl group called Playgirls perform on television for the world to see. Wearing promiscuous black bikinis, they stand in front of a car and say, “papainitin po namin yung gabi.”
Then the music starts playing. The girls crawl on the roof, pour water on their bodies, and twerk in front of the Pilipinas Got Talent judges. In a matter of seconds, Angel Locsin presses the red buzzer. Throughout the performance, the Darna actress, along with Vice Ganda look unimpressed while the two male judges watch intently.
Someone had to do it
When Angel presses the red buzzer, she makes clear that their audition was something she will not stand watching. “Ako kasi parang hindi ko kaya na makita kayo na nagsasayaw na naka-underwear para lang sa’min,” she says after their performance.
Angel also adds, “Kung may talento kayo, ‘yun ang ipakita niyo sa’min dahil talent ang hinahanap namin dito, hindi katawan. Kaya ko kayo binuzz, ayaw kong ma-objectify kayo, masyado ako nagmamalasakit para sa inyo para i-go ko ‘to at patuloy kayong panuorin ng mga kalalakihan na ginagawa ‘yan.”
Well someone had to do it, and thankfully, Angel did.
The Playgirls were asked what talent they were showcasing for the crowd and they answered car wash. But the car was dripping with suds and it was barely washed at all. Which leads to the question: what were they actually doing?
The fine line between empowerment and objectification
Robin Padilla then asks the girls if they enjoy male attention, to which the Playgirls answered yes. This is where the problem lies.
Anyone who watches the episode of PGT last March 2 would’ve felt the tension in the room. Robin and Angel clearly did not see eye to eye in the beginning. When Robin asks the Playgirls if they willingly wore their outfits, Angel interrupted, asking if he was being serious.
We don’t talk about objectification enough, in fear of offending people. Those who believe in sexual liberation may misunderstand because some of us think that showing off your body equates to self-expression.
It’s difficult for women to speak up on sexual issues. For instance, the recent issue when Anthony Taberna victim-blamed a woman for getting gang raped because she willingly “eyeballed” her chat mate. It’s even more difficult when even among women, there’s a boiling discussion against sexual liberation.
That’s why it’s important to be aware of the difference between empowerment and objectification. Now, in the age of social media, people are finally starting to show more empathy with the evident inequality. Thus, the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement for the Oscars were created; to spread empathy by sharing their own struggles to those people too afraid to speak up.
So let’s get this straight: the Playgirls’ choice of clothing was not the problem.
Though it is great that we are finally able to express our womanhood, sexual liberation isn’t just about “freeing the nipple” or wearing skimpy clothes. You can dress however way you want if it makes you feel empowered, but when you do it for the sole purpose of selling your body and making men admire you, then you are contributing to the objectification of women.
It’s devastating to see fellow women misunderstand the difference between slut-shaming and concern. So in light of Women’s Month, Angel Locsin pressing the red buzzer was exactly what we needed. It was a wake up call to women and men alike that there is more to willingly wearing revealing outfits that make a woman feel empowered.
It’s about being aware of how you present yourself, taking ownership of your body and respecting yourself that make you truly empowered.