The Disappointing Disqualification of Kim Ross delos Santos

I am taking a moment to break out of my retirement from pageant blogging because I think a wrong decision has been made.

The disqualification of Kim Ross delos Santos from Bb. Pilipinas batch 2016 due to what is being labeled a ‘racy’ photo is disappointing to me. Looking at the photo, the word ‘racy’ does not come to mind. I’d say that the words ‘daring,’ ‘suggestive’ or ‘artistic’ are more applicable. But let’s just go ahead and call it a racy photo because to me, the label doesn’t really matter anyway.


The racy photo in question

To be clear, I will always be on the conservative and modest side. Sexy and daring photos like this are not my cup of tea. Honestly, I used to look down on FHM cover girls and those who posed for similar gentlemen’s magazines. But that changed when a friend – actress Andrea Torres – posed for the cover a year or two ago. Though I was shocked that she did the cover, I could not take away the respect I already had for her as a co-actress on the set of the teleserye Ang Lihim ni Annasandra. She was still an amazing person to me because I knew her and I saw her work ethic. To me, that described her and not the FHM cover.

I have also discovered that my old way of thinking does not empower women. Because what truly empowers anyone is letting them move on in spite of what you think they have done.

I remember reading a story about a Miss World winner, I think it was Leslie Langley in 1965, who had nude photos taken before she joined the pageant. It was at a time when pageants were ultra-conservative. It was 1965! When the photos came to light, it became a huge a scandal! But what was even more scandalous (to the moralists at least) was that the Miss World leadership allowed her to keep the title because they forgave her. It was something she did BEFORE joining the pageant and not during.

Let’s stop disqualifying beauty contestants because of racy photos. While, IMHO, racy, suggestive or nude photos in themselves are not a true empowerment of women, stopping a girl from achieving better things in life because of them is where true disempowerment lies.

The better decision would have been to allow Kim Ross delos Santos to compete and then if she wins make her sign a contract that forbids her to have such photos taken. It really is that simple.

PS. The photo above does not stray far from the photos taken during the year when Miss Universe gave contestants the option to pose topless (but with body paint and boobs strategically hidden). Look below. Calling lawyers of Kim Ross delos Santos, this might be a good defense for your case. If we send contestants to a pageant like Miss Universe that once allowed topless shots (which easily falls under the term of ‘racy photos’) then why are we disqualifying contestants for something similar?