Defending Megan Young
A Facebook user who uses the profile name “Devina DeDiva” incurred the ire of netizens over racist remarks made after Philippine bet Megan Young won the Miss World crown on Saturday.
The Facebook user tagged the Philippines as a country of domestic helpers. The online rants made it to the websites of several news outfits, including Channel News Asia’s “Your News” segment. CNA is based in Singapore, where DeDiva supposedly lives, according to her site. (The Inquirer sought the Facebook user for comment but had not received a
response at press time.)
DeDiva became the target of a hate page that peaked with over 20,000 likes before it disappeared from cyberspace. At least four more hate pages sprung up after the page vanished.
Filipino celebrities, including fellow beauty queens, rushed to Young’s defense.
Precious Lara Quigaman, Miss International 2005, suspects the Facebook user only wanted attention. “I read her Facebook page… [Perhaps] she did that because she knew that Filipinos supported each other and … maybe thought she’d gain followers and/or haters by attacking Megan. We should just dismiss her and not give her the fame that she craves.”
Quigaman praised Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs): “We are a country of beautiful, smart and loving maids, nurses, teachers, doctors and beauty queens… No one can take that away from us.”
Ruffa Gutierrez, Miss World 1993 Second Princess, agreed: “Haters are always going to hate. It’s not because of what’s around them; it’s what’s within them. Simply ignore [them]. I laud our OFWs who work hard to give their families a better life, a brighter future. Let’s spread peace, love and positivity instead.”
Evangeline Pascual, Miss World 1973 first runner-up, remarked: “Anyone who puts down other people is already [down in the dumps].”
Arnold Vegafria, vice president of Miss World Philippines, said: “Our OFWs are regarded as heroes by their families and are treated with respect by their employers because of their loyalty and admirable work ethic. They have always been strong contributors to the country’s growing economy, and a source of pride.”
Meanwhile, questions concerning Young’s nationality arose after CNN and E! Online reported that she was a “US native [and] hails from the United States.”
A false report circulated online alleging that the United States had protested Young’s victory and that US citizens had petitioned Miss World organizers, saying she should also represent them since her father was American.
Cory Quirino, chair of Miss World Philippines, told the Inquirer: “That’s silly. There is no such protest. The US had its [own] candidate. Megan joined Miss World and entered Indonesia (where the pageant was held) using her Philippine passport, which was duly registered in the Miss World office. Everything was legally and officially done.”
Former Balenciaga model and Miss Visayas-RP 1976 Bessie Badilla related, “Megan was born in the US and moved back to the Philippines at age 10. She’s a global young lady, so perfect for the title of Miss World.”
Margie Moran, Miss Universe 1973, explained that, due to information technology, globalization and multiculturalism, “[Our world] has become a borderless society. I assume Megan holds dual citizenship. In any case, Miss World is not a political competition.”
As for the online bashers, Quirino said: “People are entitled to their own views. But the truth is, the Miss World crown is on Megan’s head and it was won fair and square by the Philippines, so it rightfully belongs to our country. Dissenters, especially those from the Philippines, should just be supportive and appreciative of this historic victory.”
Young is the first Filipino candidate to win in the 63-year-old UK-based pageant. With this triumph, the country scored a rare feat—winning in five major beauty contests: World (once), Universe (twice), International (four times), Earth (once) and Supranational (once).
According to reports, this achievement belongs solely to the Philippines. Brazil and Venezuela have yet to win Miss Supranational, which Filipino Mutya Johanna Datul won last month.