Last June 22, the preliminary swimsuit judging for Miss Philippines Earth 2017 contestants was held at the Oakwood Premier Joy-Nostalg Center in Pasig City.
The candidates wore black two-piece swimsuits, as well as black veils covering their faces. The reason is that the pageant wants to "place emphasis on the figure and form of the candidate, which was the criteria of focus for that specific portion" and to "introduce the girls with dramatic flair" beacuse it was the first prejudging activity.
While there were pageant fans who praised the move for being an unexpected innovation, others, like Rappler contributor Voltaire E. Tayag, were disturbed by it.
Tayag wrote, "The black veil was totally inappropriate and sends the wrong message about women. The pageant justified their gimmick by alluding to the fact that only 'figure and form' was being judged. Unfortunately, this gimmick objectified women by emphasizing to the viewing public to simply look at the body of the candidate."
Carousel Productions, which owns the Miss Philippines Earth pageant, has issued a statement on the matter. Part of it reads: "We honestly do not believe that the girls were objectified or that they felt objectified. Remember we are working with millennials. They speak their mind and will no way allow themselves to be put on the negative side."