Amid the calls for help and donation drives and pictures of devastation on your timeline, a photo of a Department of Education (DepEd) module involving actress and philanthropist Angel Locsin went viral and sparked more conversations about body shaming. Here’s why.
What exactly did the module say?
In a music, arts, physical education, and health (MAPEH) module from DepEd–Occidental Mindoro, this was given as an illustration:
“Angel Locsin is an obese person. She, together with Coco Martin, eats fatty and sweet food in MANG INASAL fast food restaurant most of the time. In her house, she is always watching television and does not have any physical activities.”
Then it asks students what they think would happen if she continues her lifestyle.
Netizens fire back
— AltDarna #StarveTheTrolls (@AltDARNA) November 13, 2020
While Angel was initially happy to ignore it, netizens were quick to react and get insulted in her place. Comments ranging from “ang lala” to “revoking the teacher’s license isn’t enough” were thrown around.
Fellow celebrities come to her defense
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Equally as enraged as her fans was fellow actress and friend Angelica Panganiban. Leaving a comment on Rappler’s Instagram post, Panganiban wrote:
“I don’t think nakaupo lang si angel sa bahay niya at nanonood ng tv. Busyng busy po siya tumulong sa mga nasalanta. Bakit hindi kayo dun mag focus? Sa kabutihan ng isang tao, lalo na ng kalooban niya.”
In the comment section of the same post, singer-songwriter Moira Dela Torre called out DepEd, sharing her personal experience:
“Please stop teaching children how to judge people and instead, teach empathy and compassion. I, myself, am a victim of body shaming and my weight is what it is because of a medical condition and not at all caused by eating fatty food or sitting on the couch all day. It also isn’t too late to learn more about kindness, like how Ate Angel advocates, so we can pass on good moral values to children.”
DepEd’s official statement
In an official statement released on their Facebook page the same night the module went viral, DepEd-Occidental Mindoro said:
“Upon initial investigation, this office found out that the said material is not contained in the self-learning module (SLM) developed and quality assured by the DepEd Central Office. The said material is a teacher-made assessment for a Grade 10 MAPEH class purposely to measure specific competencies of the learning area.
“We would like to express our sincerest apology to the concerned individuals which may have been offended or harmed by this incident. The Department of Education does not tolerate nor condone any act of body shaming, ad hominem, or any similar act of bullying both in the physical and virtual environments,” the statement read further.
According to DepEd’s regulations, modules must undergo quality checks and assurance at the DepEd Central Office. However, when the school year began last October, not all modules have been approved by the Central Office. Schools and local DepEd offices were trusted to do the assessment themselves.
The statement said that the local DepEd office has contacted the teacher who created the module, but there has been no word from the teacher himself.
Angel Locsin breaks silence
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After keeping mum on the issue for days, the actress broke her silence to respond to the official statement of DepEd. She mentioned how she was planning to ignore this issue, but upon reading DepEd’s statement, she couldn’t help but respond. In an Instagram post, she wrote:
“What bothers me most is apart from teaching incorrect grammar to the students, DepEd seems unaffected that the said teacher is teaching bad conduct and sowing discrimination among the children. Anong mangyayare sa future kung ang mga kabataan ay tinuturuan ng pambabastos at pangungutya sa kapwa? This is the more relevant issue deped, that you should be held accountable and must correct. Sa inyo naka salalay ang pag asa ng ating milyon milyong kabataan.”
Angel emphasized an important part of the issue: that it is not and will never be right to discriminate according to body type or encourage that same discrimination among children, and that accountability must be called for from where it is due. However, she also said that revoking the teacher’s license would be overkill.
It’s 2020; why are we still body-shaming Angel Locsin?
Issues about the quality of DepEd modules aside, why are we still body shaming anyone?
The actress went viral a couple of times these past few months due to her weight: the first was in June after some photos of her made it into the Internet, with netizens commenting how she seemed to have gained weight; and the second was just in October when she was in a shoot for her program Iba ‘Yan.
But her weight should not even be an issue. Just because she’s a celebrity doesn’t mean people behind screens have the right to comment on her person. It’s her body and hers alone.
She’s said it before in an interview with Boy Abunda in 2019:
“Kung ang taong ito comfortable siya sa ginagawa niyang ‘yan, ayaw ko mag-deal sa mga ganu’ng klaseng tao. Kasi sad ang life niya. Kasi ako, wala akong problema. Bakit ikaw ang dami mong isyu? Ako nga, walang isyu, eh. Katawan ko ‘to, ako ‘to, sarili ko ‘to. Eh, ikaw, okay ka ba?”
“Katawan ko ‘to, ako ‘to, sarili ko ‘to.” Please read that again.
Angel has been doing so much
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Plus, why pay attention to her weight — which, again, shouldn’t be of anyone’s concern — when she’s doing a lot more that concerns society as a whole? People should care about her socio-civic projects, which range from providing sleeping tents for frontliners and holding auctions to raise funds for COVID-19 test kits to organizing donation drives for those affected by the recent typhoons.
In conclusion . . .
Stop body-shaming. Stop talking about other people’s bodies because they’re none of your business. Pour your energy into a more productive activity. Start donating and doing what you can to help your fellow kababayans who was devastated by the typhoons. It’s 2020 — nearly 2021! We should be better than this. Society, evolve na tayo please.
What do you think of this issue?