Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

My mother would be the last person to say she’s beautiful. She’d say
she’s short, or she has gray hair and wrinkles. She wears make-up, but
she doesn’t spend hours putting a face on every day and she doesn’t
buy fancy clothes. She’s too busy as the general manager of
Adphoto to get much beauty sleep, and
sees nothing wrong with trekking around in comfortable shoes. I think
she’s beautiful.

My former grade school principal, Lala Castillo, had wrinkles around
her eyes that showed how much she smiled. I never saw her dressed in
sharp business suits. I think she was always in flowing skirts or
sensible pants. She knew all of us by name. As a child, I wondered if
I could just skip being an adult and be old and wise like she was.
I think she’s beautiful.

Didith Rodrigo, the chair of the computer science department, is not
one for beauty pageants. I don’t think she wears make-up. But she made
us feel welcome. She knew what she was talking about, and she could
explain herself very clearly. She was also a great listener. I think
she’s beautiful.

If PCS wants to judge on “beauty”—which basically means how much does
a woman resemble advertisements—then they risk closing their eyes to
the real gems, people who can _really_ inspire others.

As for me, I’m going to stay in my own little world where results
matter more than appearances, where ordinary people become beautiful
when you get to know them.

I’m glad that I’m not spectacular. At least that way, I don’t have to
worry about people speculating about my breast size, unlike one of my
friends who occasionally has to put up with that despite being a
brilliant physicist. At least that way, I know people pay attention to
my ideas and not just to my body.

I still feel a little insecure from time to time. Am I where I am just
because I’m a girl, just because I was in the right place at the right
time? Would I have gotten as far if people didn’t make a fuss over the
fact that ooh, look, a girl’s _really_ into tech?

Then I go online and talk to people who don’t know anything about me,
people who even assume I’m a guy until the regulars laugh and correct
them, and I realize that I’m good enough on my own.

That’s an assurance the DigitalPinay winners might not have, because
they’ll wonder: was I hired because my resume was good and I can
really make a difference, or was I hired because I won a beauty
pageant?

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