What Happened When I Felt Seen in Media As a Filipina

Tan also points this out: “As great as it is that we see more Filipinos in the media, when they’re mostly lighter-skinned mestizos, it can further the stereotype that proximity to whiteness is most beautiful and more superior. We are a country of over 7,000 islands — we are so many different shades, shapes, sizes, and descents, all beautiful and deserving to be seen and heard. I would love to see this (us!) better represented.” Dorff also wants more diversity in size. “I want to see more fat Asian chicks in general! Beauty companies specifically should be employing more fat models for their products, especially because their products are not limited by sizing,” she says. 

“Despite being a Catholic and conservative place, in my experience I have always observed level of acceptance and love for queer and trans people in the Philippines and diaspora,” says Beaudreault, who admires how models Geena Rocero and Leyna Bloom are representing for trans Filipinas. “The first time I ever saw and really understood trans people was in the Philippines,” she says. Beaudreault is grateful that her nieces get to grow up with more examples and role models than she did.

We have a long way to go with representation, not just for Filipinos, of course, but for all marginalized groups. But I’m glad the younger generation has a lot more people to look up to than we had, from beauty icons like Bretman Rock, Patrick Starr, Saweetie, and H.E.R. Maybe there’s a Filipino teen out there who finally felt seen when they first saw them, too.

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