Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Of Social Mores and Beauty Pageants and More

Current social mores are at the very least confusing, but at worst, hypocritical.  And without the guidance of traditional moral virtues will continue to be so.

Societies have over the ages gone and progressed a lot, but a little examination will reveal that in spite of all this, we still continue to pursue activities that in truth expose us to greater dangers from the baseness or coarseness of our primordial instincts as human beings.  We like to celebrate how far we have untied ourselves from the prudishness of yesteryears while at the same time have curbed the prurient tendencies that sat at the other extreme.  But we appear to have leaned too much one way, at the grave expense of the other.

 These stubborn concerns came to the fore when the results of a beauty pageant were thrust into the world stage because of an error committed by the emcee.  The end result was that instead of the candidate initially proclaimed, the real winner was the participant coming from the Philippines.  And the entire world it seems is in a gnarled twist not so much about the pageant itself, but about the unintended ramifications on all the parties concerned – from the candidates to the emcee, the countries represented.  It would appear further that countries of the participants are being suckered in to get involved in this petty controversy like it had the makings of serious national security issues. This news eclipsed many of the more pressing news in the world, relegating them to the sidelines until maybe when all this pageant brouhaha subsides or spends itself to ennui.

 Many no doubt, and they indeed did based on entries/comments on social media and other on-line sources, wonder why the fuss about all this.

 It is the usual run-of-mill beauty contest after all, where women are paraded around publicly before adoring eyes of judges, mostly male, in different sessions of dress and undress.  From traditional attire to the skimpiest of attire, passing as bathing suits.  The latter of course getting the most attention and media coverage.  Thus, when in the news it is expected to see a gallery of these women baring all that exercise, diet, sun, cosmetics, or what have you, have enhanced in the natural beauty nature has gifted to their bodies from birth.  These contests do have segments where their mental acuities are tested, like a question or two about some worldly concerns such as peace, wars, etc.  And of course, a talent segment where these ladies get a chance to show their favorite hobbies whether singing, declaiming, or playing an instrument.  But truth be told, the contest is about how well physically developed their bodies are and more to the point, how desirable they appear to those countless males looking for partners to  mate.  One can then say sensuality becomes a critical measure in picking the likely winners.

 I doubt anybody will dispute that any normal, healthy, hetero-male exposed to such paragons of desirability and sensuality, and being allowed or allowing himself to savor those moments, does not instinctively feel his desires for procreation stirred up and started.  And I say, instinctively, with not much prodding.

 And the popularity and pervasiveness of beauty pageants, from the local, to the national, to the international, have created different niches in different industries inexorably developing to a point where it won’t be long, this will become an industry all its own.  From cosmetics and outlets such as stores and parlors, to physical fitness trainers, to coaches of different modalities, etc.  Already certain So. American countries are noted for such push to ensure winners in their contestants.

 And these thorny moral issues are true not just in beauty pageants, but in a gallery of socially acceptable activities that we now have permeating all levels of our societies.

 We go next to the modelling business which traditionally had been intended to highlight the creations of those who manufacture apparel and various accessories.  Now we know that instead of the clothes, the ones wearing them get more attention and benefits.  The men and women, but mostly the latter, have become the centerpieces of this industry.  And like beauty pageants, the lady models have become the luscious bits to be ogled at.  And these same ladies have gladly obliged by parading in the barest of clothing and in most seductive poses. And again a critical factor in popularity is the degree of sensuality exuded.

 To digress, read an online item about how the models of a famous lingerie store behave when they are off the limelight.  That they allow or pose themselves being photographed without those little patches of cloth passing for lingerie.  How shallow, when for all intents and purposes they have already paraded themselves naked in front of throngs of animated people.

 Then we have the glittering world of Hollywood which feeds us our just desserts via movies, TV programs, etc.  It is typical fare now to see episodes of scantily-clad or immodestly-clad actresses in scenes of “simulated” sex as naked as it can get.  Never mind the foul language thrown every which way.  It does deserve it then to be called soft-porn when such scenes are described.  But again hypocrisy shows its slip when we read that one particular actor whose real girlfriend was in the movie with him that they actually had real sex for the movie.  No simulation there it seems to say.

 So far what we have described are currently all acceptable socially, with the caveat of course, that there are “strict” rules governing these.

 Now comes the kicker.  Porn, or hard-core porn as differentiated from Hollywood’s soft porn.

Personally, I do not see much differences.  Many “adult” actresses are just as physically gifted, some very knowledgeable and articulate on different subjects, with some even very adept at marketing (themselves) and creating business.  But they do leave nothing to the imagination, and everything is real.  No simulations there.  And porn is still socially taboo in most places, though very pervasive and well patronized.  Its secretive patrons stealthily partake mostly in darkened solitude, and speak in hushed whispers when dealing with the subject.  It is also a highly regulated activity, both as to form as well as for health requirements.

So where are we going as a society?  With regard to morality, and maybe, with regard to our respect for women as co-equal partners of men, rather than just as objects of wanton desire?

In our polite society most of us know how to behave morally and to regard our fellowmen, but our actions sometimes do not jibe, though we still pretentiously maintain our supposedly high moral stance.  How different to the brutal savagery shown by certain groups in the Middle East, where their actions are fully synched with the warped beliefs they cling to.