Artists criticize reality TV show’s ‘decadent influence on youth culture’

“This supposed challenge [to pose nude for a painting session] was not just about testing the housemates’ determination in completing their ‘weekly task,’ nor was it for the painter’s advocacy. Rather, it was about kuya’s exercise of authority over the contestant in the name of publicity and ratings.”

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – After ABS-CBN’s Pinoy Big Brother reality show featured a contestant being dared to pose nude for a painting or face possible eviction, the Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (KARATULA) aired its criticisms of the show’s values.

Last week, four housemates or contestants were challenged to pose nude for a painting as part of their weekly task. In an episode on Wednesday (June 4), Big Brother (Kuya to viewers and contestants) dared Jayme Jalandoni, 23, one of the contestants in the reality show, to pose nude for a painting so the housemates would succeed in their “weekly task.”

Jayme Jalandoni is a professional nurse who was introduced early in the series as a devoted Christian. Her initial response was disbelief when Big Brother informed her that her challenge was to become a model for a nude painting.
“Kuya” told Jayme that if she agrees, the artist and his advocacy for education would benefit from her modelling. The nude modelling session was purportedly for art, for a good cause, and not for lust.

The contestant visibly struggled with the decision whether to say yes or no to the challenge, as saying “No” could mean failing the weekly task and thus facing the possibility of being evicted from the House. With that, they would lose the chance to win a TV contract and some prize money. As she struggled and finally made a tearful decision to say No, after consulting her dad, her friends in PBB consoled and supported her.

Jayme Jalandoni after deciding to say No to challenge to pose nude. (Screengrab from Jayme Jalandoni's Facebook account)
Jayme Jalandoni after deciding to say No to challenge to pose nude. (Screengrab from Jayme Jalandoni’s Facebook account)

“What is the point of gaining the world and getting rich if one loses his/her soul,” Jayme Jalandoni posted in her Facebook account.

Also concerned over the incident, Senator Nancy Binay reportedly said she would file a Senate resolution to ask the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to look into the matter.

In a statement, Gabriela Women’s Alliance praised in Filipino the two PBB housemates, Jayme Jalandoni and Michelle Gumabao, for having resisted the program’s attempt “to manipulate and compel them (to pose nude).” While Gabriela recognizes that nudity has long been depicted in works by artists including Michaelangelo as expression of their appreciation of female beauty, it said “compelling” a woman to pose nude for a painting session that would also be watched by thousands of TV viewers is unforgivable. Gabriela calls it “televised commodification of women.”

The women’s alliance urged PBB to exercise care in devising gimmicks and to ensure these respect the rights of women. It urged the show to also practice self-regulation, as the MTRCB has long been asking the entire industry to do.

Not for art or advocacy, but for ratings

Menerva Espanta, spokesperson of KARATULA, said: “This supposed challenge was not just about testing the housemates’ determination in completing their ‘weekly task,’ nor was it for the painter’s advocacy. Rather, it was about kuya’s exercise of authority over the contestant in the name of publicity and ratings.”

Pinoy Big Brother is a hit TV reality show earning big bucks for ABS-CBN and one of the media conglomerate’s aces in the ratings war with close rival GMA7.

The contestant’s challenge to pose for a nude painting followed a previous Pinoy Big Brother episode where it allowed mothers of some youth contestants to enter the house secretly to clean their rooms.

According to Karatula, this episode reinforces society’s low treatment and regard for women – as if women are simply meant for housework and/or sexual entertainment “disguised as art.”

Karatula said art should be reflective of society and should challenge it. They condemned the PBB’s use of art as justification for treating a woman as if she’s a commodity in a show targeting a young audience.

Espanta added that “Kuya has effectively branded himself and the show as anti-women and invasive of their human rights.” Her art group warned that it is “not entertainment but a manufactured distraction from more pressing concerns.”

Instead of imposing a “crumbling culture” on TV audience and the youth, Kuya of Pinoy Big Brother is being challenged by Karatula to engage in a higher cause. Espanta said there are many relevant issues facing today’s youth. She cited for one the need to get to the bottom of the pork barrel scam, and why the Aquino administration has harboured scammers and why it also appears to engage in corruption.

Youth activists have condemned the corrupt pork barrel system as one of the causes why an insufficient budget is being allocated to education and services for the youth.

“PBB seems content to make the youth look the other way. We urge the show to have more socially pro-active stances and segments that can also be entertaining so it becomes more progressive and endearing to audiences,” Espanta ended.

Meanwhile, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has summoned network ABS-CBN in relation to the “nude painting challenge” in its reality show “Pinoy Big Brother: All In.” The MTRCB said it was “alarmed over alleged gender-insensitivity” in the challenge. In response, Bong Osorio, ABS-CBN spokesperson, said in a report posted in their website that they will cooperate in the MTRCB’s conference. ()

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