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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Naked Pinays on the Internet

Some sort of a research reveals that women have wide-ranging sexual interests and are savvy enough to figure out how to harness technology to pursue their erotic desires -- and occasionally make some money doing it. This is not surprising, even for Pinays, but you won't hear this general assumption on the evening news. Yes, women are slipping into sex the internet, and while the rare cynical comment and the nifty draw on individual tales expands the speculative pitch, they don't undermine the seriousness of the work.

Most fascinating is how sex workers nowadays are beginning to ascertain themselves as legitimate voices in the changing sphere of female sexuality. The internet itself has changed sex work extensively, but it has also brought more Pinays into the field, many of whom don't think of themselves as "sex workers." If a Pinay models fetishy outfits once or twice a year for cash to spend on a new tattoo, is she a sex worker? If she dances naked on webcam in an adult community but don't get paid for it, is she a sex worker, an erotic artist or both?

While a number of Pinays explore sexuality online for personal reasons and have no intention of making it a side business, much less a career, there is much more to learn from their' stories. Real women, of various ages and backgrounds and moral codes, are finding their sexual power online.

The problem is how the mainstream media treat sex technology. Technology is bad, sex is bad and anything that combines women and sex and technology is some sort of triple-whammy threat. Yet when it comes to specifics, the media are remarkably fuzzy. There’s now a question rooted in crazy technophobia that's all put off on the internet. Meeting people could be dangerous. But what's the characterization of danger? Does it suggest that you are prone to get murdered or raped? Maybe not. But are you going to have a bizarre experience? Acquire an STD? Break your heart? Danger on that scale is realistic -- but not necessarily tied to the internet.

Probably, meeting people online is much safer than meeting in a bar. There's no alcohol involved (well, there can be). But when you meet a stranger in a bar, how much can you really know before you take him/her home? The idea that meeting online is dangerous is sometimes helpful because it gets people to take steps to make things safer. What's funny is that sex workers, before and after the internet, have always had very elaborate check-in systems, with other workers, with friends, maybe an agency or escort service. Someone else knows where they are at all times. They tell someone where they are meeting, as much as they can about who they are meeting, and set a time to call. They also tell the person they're meeting that they have given this information to a friend and that they will check in. The exact same advice is listed on a lot of dating sites -- the same safety tips go for online daters as for escorts!

Now, for our dear Pinays who dare the internet for what it can offer in terms of relationship and acquaintances, sexual connections is an issue that only you can handle with utmost care and candor. Cyber technology is such a convenient medium. The risk is there but also with any other relationship. When the time for you to reveal yourself and open up your character comes – getting naked so to speak – your personal reasons are your own lookout.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

Pinay Models and Morals - Getting Naked

Every day, the fashion industry in the Philippines continues to push the envelope. The Pinoy creativity that designers, photographers, and models express is amazing. But, along with innovation, other boundaries are pushed out further as well. This places amateur and professional Filipina models alike into compromising situations that force them to either give into the industry or make a stand for their convictions. In most cases, pressure from the industry makes it seem as if giving up their dignity is the only way they can pursue their dreams.

The pressures of the fashion world prompted some Pinay models to eventually give up their morals and participate in risqué modeling jobs just a few episodes later. It is so sad, but it also a reality that no matter how strong you think you are, it’s a lonely road when no one around you holds the same convictions.
If you want to be a model, the reality is that you will have many opportunities to get naked. Nudity – full, partial, and implied – are definitely part of the modeling business, especially in the high fashion industry.  But, most modeling jobs don't ask this of you at all. There are plenty of commercial, fitness, lifestyle, and print assignments that will never ask you to take your clothes off for money. In many cases, clients will arrange for private dressing areas and female stylists to keep the talent comfortable. But, this is not always the case either.

If you are looking into pursuing a modeling career, you must first determine what your boundaries are and how you will deal with requests to cross them. Discuss them with your modeling agent, who should filter potentially compromising requests for you, in honor of your standards. If they are not willing to do that, dump them. A talented model can find representation anywhere, so do not let an agency bully you into either getting naked or letting go of your dream.

The bottom line is that there are many models, actors, and entertainment professionals that lead successful careers without ever getting naked. If more of the talent would dare to make a stand, the industry would be forced to stop asking. Besides, what sense does it make to use naked bodies to sell clothing!

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A Young Pinay's Confessions

If my friend or acquaintance catches me, he or she will know my secret and perhaps think I'm a sham. So I put the mascara wand down coz’ I don't want them to think I'm superficial. Can I wear makeup and still be a pure feminist? a real Filipina at heart? 

Actually, it's amusing that I used to be so tense about being "girly." When I was a little girl, I experimented with lipstick or eye shadow. I thought it was a big deal to smudge pretty colors on my face. But as I get older, I learn that some girls and women refuse wearing makeup as a way to decline the pressure of looking a certain way. So it must be common for us girls to have mixed feelings about makeup. And I've gone through different stages in how I feel about it.

Can't Make Up My Mind
I am one of those Pinays who feel guilty about wanting to wear makeup. That's how I felt. I believe that Filipinas like me should be treated equally, no matter what they look like. So I kept my curiosity about makeup a secret, afraid to betray my beliefs about feminism. Well, there's a new secret I learned, and this is one I should tell everyone - I CAN wear makeup and be a real Filipina. I can still stand up for my rights and demand to be treated equally, no matter what I’m wearing on my face. Wearing makeup doesn't mean I’m weak or brainwashed - it just means that I’m experimenting with new ways to express myself.

I think it's fun, and I should feel free to enjoy it, just like how I enjoy other interests I have.
I am still beautiful without makeup, am I not? I look at pictures of myself when I was little? I didn’t wear makeup then, but people still liked me for reasons that had nothing to do with my looks. I believe that everyone has unique features - I can highlight my features with makeup if I want to, but makeup doesn't "make up" who I really am.

All Made Up and Nothing to Do
Sometimes I also feel like I have to look a certain way to be accepted. But then I can't play too hard, because I might mess up my makeup. I feel it's really dispensable to wear makeup all the time. I know I’m still a girl, and I have the rest of my life to wear makeup if I want to. If I wear makeup, it should be for fun - not because I’m scared that people won't accept what I look like without it.

Fresh and Relaxed
Sometimes I feel pressured to wear makeup but I’m really not interested, so I don't! I think it's good to keep my face free of chemicals. I know I don't have to wear makeup until I feel ready - or I don't ever have to wear it at all! I need to experiment with different ways to express myself. Yes, it's OK if I wear makeup, and it's OK if I don't. What really matters is what I keep here in my heart, not exactly what I wear on my face.

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Naked Views at the Airports

Here is some bad news for terrorists! Well, I'm not sure how this one will fare with our demure and conservative Pinay beauties and Pinoy hunks.

An X-ray machine that generates "naked" images of passengers was pioneered at an airport enabling staff to instantly catch a glimpse of any hidden weapons or explosives. Just as luggage is systematically X-rayed to see what's inside, airport security personnel have tested this scanner which looks through clothes for drugs and concealed weapons. But is modesty preserved?The thrilling worries for the naked Pinay views could be a delicate issue. It could be seen as  invasive and pernicious.

The X-rays in effect strip you naked - little is left to the imagination and it’s very graphic." Here, privacy could be an issue. The general outline of the body can be seen, along with some blurry details of the anatomy. It shows about as much as if the person were wearing a tight bathing suit. Obviously, it must be used with discretion, such as ensuring that the monitor is visible only to the security screener. While the scanner is more invasive than a conventional metal detector, it is more effective as it can detect "21st Century weapons" such as explosives and plastic guns.

What it does is reduce the resolution at certain parts of the body, much like a broadcaster can pixelate someone's face. At present, the only way of locating these dangerous items is through a pat-down search, where the security officer rubs his hands over the person's body."

Already the scanner is in use in the US and worldwide in airports, embassies, court buildings, prisons and government properties. While modesty was preserved during the police operation by the scanner - and its operators - being hidden away in a mobile unit, civil liberties advocates have raised concerns about an operator's code of conduct and any risks of passers-by having a look.

The full body scanner can produce a 360° digital image of the body - minus clothes in just six seconds.  And will also show up any breast enlargements, false limbs, piercings, and a clear outline of passengers' private parts. What shows up is the naked human form and anything concealed on the person: coins in a pocket, trouser studs, metal or ceramic knives, guns, explosives, drugs. The shin bones, which lie close to the skin's surface, can also be seen, as other features such as the cleft between buttocks.

Some passengers might not want to be scanned because of the graphic nature of the images and they can refuse to undergo the virtual strip search at  the terminal opting for the traditional "pat down" search instead. But the black and white image will only be seen by one officer in a remote location before it is deleted. Most customers do not like the traditional "pat down" search, they find it too intrusive, but they still want to be kept safe.

This scanner completely takes away the hassle of needing to undress. The images are not erotic or pornographic and they cannot be stored or captured in anyway. The scanner makes the check-in process much quicker for passengers, who will not have to remove their coats, shoes or belts.

Frequent flyers do not need to worry about radiation from the low-level X-ray. Passengers can go through this machine 5,000 times a year each without worrying, it is super safe and the amount of radiation transmitted is tiny. Electromagnetic waves are beamed on to passengers while they stand in a booth, and a virtual three-dimensional "naked" image is created from the reflected energy.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Pinays Behind the Success of Pacquiao

The most successful Pinoy Boxer, and the current world boxing superstar – Manny Pacquiao, has a lot of things going on for him. He has even hit the right notes for his 7th title bid.  He’s booked a concert for after the fight at the Mandalay Bay and they are paying him $100,000 [about £60,000] to play 13 songs. When Freddie Roach heard, he asked, ‘Manny, what are you doing? This is a hard fight.’ Manny just said, ‘I can do both.’ Every night, after training, he goes off to rehearsal. At least, when he does his music, he’s calm, he’s relaxed and it gets his mind off the boxing.

After the boxing and singing, Pacquiao appears as a masked superhero in Wapakman, a film released in the Philippines this month, wearing a red spandex suit. “That suit is really funny,” Roach said. “With all that money spent, they should have got him a better suit. Let’s just see how the film will fare based on the result of his fight with Cotto.

But while we see upfront those things going on for Pacman, we cannot deny the important people behind the people’s champ. As the old cliché, “behind a man’s success is a woman”, goes, we cannot ignore the impact of 3 or more Pinays in his life.
  • First is Nanay Dionisia, his ever supportive mother who also loves the limelight. Nanay Dionisia’s newly acquired ballroom dancing skills were not the only surprise for everyone but her comical popularity is growing by the day in its grandiosity as she gets busy with TV commercials.
  • Second is Pacquiao’s  wife Jinky, the beauteous life partner who shares with every sacrifice and reward that Manny gathers along the way. As the well-picked Belo commercial model, she exudes all the rage that her husband’s popularity carries. She is even on the cover of Good House Keeping where she talks about what she always thinks about her husband and how she’s become stronger on the grind of events in their lives. 
  • Third is PGMA, the lady president of his country, the Philippines. Pacquiao doesn’t care about all the hullabaloos surrounding the unpopularity or popularity of Pres. Gloria, but their long-time reciprocity of support encompasses every struggle that Pacquiao and the country went through.
 What about Pacman’s young daughter, Queen Elizabeth? His movie leading lady, Ara Mina? And to all the girls she met before and after? Don’t get me wrong, but  the Pinay contribution to a man’s success cannot be denied. That naked truth should disclose some secrets of success in every man’s endeavor. Surely, a multitude of Pinay’ will pray for and watch his fight tomorrow. Let us just see how they will react on the result.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting Naked Financially - Discuss Money with Your Honey

The old romantic notion that marital bliss means money doesn't matter could very well be an idyllic brickwall. In today's troubled economic times, that's simply false optimism. And with layoffs galore and debt mounting, financial stress is high on the roof just like the recent floodings in Manila and Pangasinan (Philippines). Well,  keeping afloat and affectionate is not impossible especially with the Filipina disposition. Think again. An inspiring, action-oriented plan can help women in committed relationships understand and manage their money matters. Just be on your own two feet, clear those worries and create a happy home. What? Is it that easy?

Let's get to the bottom of things. Wait, don't get too tight on the sexy title crap of this article. Getting naked is actually getting unwrapped by admitting your real financial situation in the family...with your partner, your husband maybe? Talk it over, in bed or somewhere else. Rekindle the romantic touch as you hold hands together against the world, I mean, against this world in recession. Stop blaming the circumstances, most of all cease blaming yourselves - that's not a healthy foreplay. State the truth, develop a plan, work together. Your honey will be inspired again to see you unstripping financially because the two of you together should run through financial obscurity to that marital bliss...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Another Famous Pinay!

The fact is - Filipinas who are individually famous have carved a proud image that could wash away  the tight niche that common views tend to wrap around their shoulders. Actually there are many of them who can stand tall and dignified before the judgmental stare of horny men and dominating houselords. When the biased expectations of the world anticipate the Pinay to pull off the house broom or her undies, one strong Pinay stuns the world with an admirable feat. Read below the Lisa Kaaki's feature in the Arab News of an admirable Filipina:

Bea Valdes: World-famous Filipina designer

In the next few years, Asian and African designers will play an increasing role on the global fashion scene. Even the most famous European fashion designers such as the genial Galiano and even the late Yves Saint Laurent often turned to the East for inspiration.

The Filipina designer, Bea Valdes, is currently enjoying an unprecedented success, both in Europe and the United States. Valdes, whose family has been working in the jewelry business for three generations, began designing evening bags in 2004. She soon became interested in statement neckpieces, these giant necklaces which add “wow” to the most casual clothes.

Her ‘artrageous’ creations have been photographed in Harper’s Bazaar, Newsweek, Glamour and Marie Claire. More recently, British Vogue’s September issue featured Kate Moss wearing only a Burberry trench coat and a sublime neckpiece by Bea Valdes. Sold in well-known shops such as Barney’s, Harvey Nichols and Saks Fifth Avenue, her jewelry has been worn by Sharon Stone, Kate Hudson and of course Kate Moss. A Bea Valdes piece, whether a bag or a neckpiece, takes around a month to finish. Each piece is handmade and can consist of up to 75 different beads, crystals, and even semiprecious stones. “I don’t really plan what I create. I begin by working on my panels. Sometimes, a panel will tell me what it wants to be, a bag or a neckpiece. We are a work in progress and that is the kind of mindset I plan on keeping for the years to come. We are in constant search of new material and we aim to evolve in design and technique,” she explains. She has chosen to remain in the Philippines where she works closely with her team of forty artisans. She feels it is important to maintain a creative environment and Manila is the only place where what she wants can be done as she wants.

Bea Valdes grew up in the Philippines. She graduated with a degree in Industrial Design from the University of the Philippines and then studied Interior Design in London. When she was applying to Central Saint Martins for Jewelry Design, a professor she met for an interview, saw the embroidered panels she had brought along and told her to use them as bags. In 2000, she created 12 egg-shaped bags which were an instant success. And her breakthrough happened when one of Bea’s clients brought some of the bespoke bags to Vogue and they immediately requested a photo shoot and an interview. She is presently famous for her gorgeous, bold necklaces, the niche she was looking for, a kind of jewelry which is neither fine nor costume.

“It was like trying to create the antithesis of fine jewelry while still capturing the drama of it,” says Bea who was surprised by customers’ reactions. A number of women felt they were too short to wear such huge pieces: “I am quite small myself and love the fact that the pieces are oversized.”

Bea draws some inspiration from outside the fashion world, presently she is mostly influenced by writers such as Edward Gorey and the French poet Charles Baudelaire. She admits that she likes pieces that tell a story and according to her sister Marga: “She designs everything for herself, something I would wear, something she would wear. It’s just something she would like.” As for Bea, every time she starts working on a new bag, she says: “This will be my favorite piece. And then, the next time I start another, I say it again. That’s my motivation.”
Her bold necklaces have been doing very well since they were launched on the market a couple of seasons ago. The best-selling pieces are the most intricate, most of which are bespoke. Besides the regular collections which are sold worldwide, Bea Valdes continues to do special orders for private customers in Manila and abroad.
Despite her global success, the most well-known Filipina designer remains unchanged. Bea Valdes still spends most of her time designing, despite the birth of her daughter, Bella. Her presence, however, has affected Bea’s creativity. She tends now to use fewer dark and bold colors in favor of pastels and light colors.
For Bea Valdes, “The most important thing in one’s life is that you do the work you love with the people you love.”

World's Most Famous Pinay?

Veronica Pedrosa during the Auckland visit

Perhaps, she now holds the title as most famous Pinay face in the world, right behind Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

Veronica Pedrosa embarked on her career in Manila as a TV reporter, presenter and producer for the Philippines broadcaster ABS-CBN. And by now, she has been the news anchor at the Al Jazeera English television network's Asia Pacific News Centre in Kuala Lumpur since November 2005.
She was really meant for bigger things. What with her British twang, Filipina looks, a UK degree, and that no-nonsense experience in broadcast journalism at ABS-CBN, she’s got what it takes to be there. And opportunity did bang at her flap several times. Veronica set off to work for CNN in Atlanta and Hong Kong as well as the BBC World Service and BBC World Television in London. While at CNN she was named Best News Anchor at the 9th Asian Television Awards 2004.

"I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time but of course it takes a lot of hard work too," Pedrosa reveals to Suzanne Schokman on Radio New Zealand. "Hard work, persistence and a willingness to step outside what is safe, prescribed or popular" are her success secrets.

She is the daughter of Filipino journalist Carmen Navarro Pedrosa who wrote a tell-all biography on then-First Lady Imelda Marcos that led to the Pedrosa family's exile in London where Veronica grew up. She was educated at St Paul's Girls School in London and Newham College, Cambridge. "I'm Asian at heart and European by habit," says Pedrosa. She reckons that her British accent is more understandable for people from Europe and the US and easier for her to understand what they are getting at. "I have the ability to shift between different cultures and perspectives,"she adds.

During her career stretching over 18 years, Pedrosa has brought viewers news on all the major global and regional news events and has interviewed a wide range of world figures including Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi, East Timor Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

She has also hosted a range of special reports and programs including dedicated Indian theme weeks in New Delhi and Mumbai and two special live series examining the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings and the killer disease, Severe Acute Respiratory Syn-drome (SARS).

She was in Auckland to speak at the Media Women in Asia seminar on September 26th, organised by the Asia New Zealand Foundation. "It is important that Asian women are seen in public professional roles in order to break chauvinistic stereo-types about what Asian women do, who they are. Because they can be everything!"