The Statement ‘Maganda Talaga Kapag Binuntis Ka’ Is Incredibly Problematic, And Here’s Why
Will Donnalyn Bartolome and her cries for “me, me, me!” attention ever take a backseat? She raised social media eyebrows once more when she claimed “Maganda talaga ‘pag binuntis“—a seriously hot take meant to rile up feathers and incite nasty reactions from people.
At the end of the day, if it drives eyeballs, clicks, likes, and shares—be it for whatever reason—then it should be a good thing for Donnalyn, right? After all the backlash and negative comments she’s received, she may have come to the conclusion that whatever people say about her no longer matters because, hey, at least she’s being talked about.
But enough about Donnalyn. Our good friends at Esquire have already waxed poetic about how her main character syndrome just can’t help it. She can’t help but want eyes on her and inject herself into every narrative. And truly, the quickest way to shut someone down who’s in it for the likes, shares, and sheer virality of the moment—and maybe, just maybe, let them truly reflect on these teaching moments—is not to give them what they want.
However, something needs to be said, if not to Donnalyn, then to impressionable women and girls hearing “maganda talaga ‘pag binuntis“. The truth is, Donnalyn is far from the first to have shared a similar sentiment of the sort, reflecting internalized views that are outdated and, frankly, outright sexist.
It hinges on the idea that a woman’s beauty is not something she owns; it is validation given to her, and by a man, no less.
The sentence “Maganda talaga ‘pag binuntis” carries quite a fair bit to unpack. First, it hinges on the idea that a woman’s beauty is not something she owns; it is validation given to her, and by a man, no less. You’re not truly beautiful (or pretty, sexy, attractive, or hot) unless a man showers you with attention—and even gets you pregnant in the process. Yikes.
It also upholds the incredibly obsolete idea that the essence of a woman is motherhood. Never mind the fact that so many women grapple with the struggles of being a single mom, both in their economic and social prospects. Because the man is often out of the picture, a woman has to fend for herself and her child, juggling the responsibilities of raising a child while dealing with the stigma and societal shame of being a woman with a father-less child—in short, binuntis. Doesn’t sound so pretty now, does it?
This also clearly isn’t shade on mothers or those who want to be mothers. People, women especially, have their own reasons and preferences, which may or may not involve offspring. Whether you see yourself as a proud child-free Filipina or dream of being surrounded by a noisy brood, both aspirations are valid. What we are saying is that while a woman may have all the reason in the world to want a child, this should not define how beautiful or even worthy she is.
Self-worth comes from within, not from others—and certainly not from a man.
There is also the issue of the term “binuntis.” This takes away agency from a woman to own her body and sexuality, painting women as passive participants in the conversation of sex. It’s the same with words such as “ginalaw,” “inano”—all seeing sex from the perspective of a man, painting women as hapless victims in these power dynamics. At the end of the day, consensual sex involves two people. But in 2023, why are we still painting women at the mercy of men especially when it comes to getting intimate, like they have no say in the matter?
This needs to change. Sex serves many purposes other than to procreate in the most biological sense. It’s an opportunity for connection, for pleasure, to discover something new about yourself or your partner. Most importantly, sex between a man and a woman does not serve the man alone, and should never be used to affirm someone’s beauty or desirability.
At the end of the day, Donnalyn will be Donnalyn. This social media moment will pass, only to likely be replaced by another. Yet if not Donnalyn, then someone else will utter these provocative statements. It’s important to shut these down and remind women and girls everywhere that beauty comes from within. Beauty is empowerment.
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