‘Stop hate comments’: Filipinos rally behind Rabiya Mateo after presidency remark backlash

February 18, 2021 - 5:29 PM
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Rabiya Mateo
Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo in this photo taken by Mark Caceres for Lazada. (Photo from Instagram/rabiyamateo)

Pageant enthusiasts are calling on the public to support Miss Universe Philippines 2020 (MUP 2020) Rabiya Mateo amid the criticisms she is receiving over her opposing views with the president.

A Facebook post pointed out that Filipinos should take the beauty queen’s well-being into consideration, citing that she is pressured to bring a “sandwich victory” for the country.

The term is used to describe a victory when a country secures a win on alternate years.

An example is when a country wins the pageant in the first year, does not secure the title in the second, but successfully earns a victory for the third time.

In the case of the Philippines, it won Miss Universe 2018 through Catriona Gray but it didn’t secure the succeeding title as snagged by Miss Universe South Africa Zozibini Tunzi.

If Mateo wins Miss Universe 2020, it would then be called a “sandwich win.”

Pageant-dedicated Facebook page The Philippine Pageantry recounted how Mateo immediately faced controversies after winning the MUP title in October 2020.

Mateo faced rumors that she brought her own makeup and glam team in the competition despite restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Miss Davao City Alaiza Malinao then defended the beauty queen via an Instagram story where she said that MUP 2020 has been doing the makeup herself.

MUP board director Albert Andrada similarly laughed off claims that Mateo has been provided questions before the finals.

Recently, Mateo has also been criticized for her supposed lack of fashion sense by a pro-administration social media personality.

The criticisms against her style came after Mateo expressed her views on President Rodrigo Duterte‘s remarks that women were supposedly not fit for presidency because “the emotional set-up of a woman and a man is totally different.”

Mateo said that while she respects the chief executive, she does not agree that women are not fit for the highest government post.

“In our country, we already had two female leaders and by doing that, women are as capable as men in handling a nation,” the 24-years-old Ilongga beauty said in an interview with pageant analyst Missosology on Monday.

“I just want to give an example of what happened in New Zealand in conquering (the) COVID virus in which their female leader was able to nurse a newborn, but at the same time, she was able to become a mother to her land,” Mateo added.

She said that men and women should be treated equally in the modern age and be given “same opportunities” regardless of their gender.

“I won’t agree with something like this because I know my capabilities and my strength as a woman and I know I can make a difference, so much difference,” Mateo further said.

‘Peace of mind’ 

Her comments were not warmly received by some of Duterte’s supporters, including a social media personality who claimed that Mateo has a poor fashion sense despite it being irrelevant to the issue.

Mateo’s supporters and other pageant enthusiasts argued that Filipinos should give the beauty queen a “peace of mind” as she prepares for the incoming Miss Universe 2020 where she will represent the country.

“Ipakita natin ang ating suporta at pagmamahal dahil sa huli, Pilipinas ang sash na kanyang suot-suot at alam nating lahat na hindi niya tayo bibiguin,” the page of The Philippine Pageantry wrote.

“A person has a right to disagree to a certain matter. Just because Ms. Rabiya disagreed and said that presidency can also be for women, does not mean that she doesn’t deserve to win Miss U. Mga kokote talaga ng iba riyan, ang kikitid. Again, SHE WAS EMPOWERING WOMEN!” a Twitter user said in response to criticisms on Mateo’s remarks.

“Can we just stop the hate comments? To reiterate the caption, we need to give importance to mental health. Let’s give her the peace of mind she deserves. If you are in her position, how would you feel being bashed? How can we win if her own countrymen keep on pulling her down?” a Facebook user likewise wrote.

Representing a country in one of the most prestigious beauty pageants in the world involves physical, mental and emotional preparation.

The contestant is expected to represent an ideal woman who is supposed to affect positive change personally, professionally and philanthropically.

Apart from gearing themselves up physically, pageant bets are also trained to answer questions with substance and impact.