Monique Wilson slams DeDiva’s racial slur

Monique Wilson slams DeDiva’s racial slur

Stage actress Monique Wilson is joining the public outcry against  Singapore-based  Divina Dediva, who made a racial slur against Filipinos and Miss World 2013 Megan Young.

DeDiva, who has since deactivated her Facebook account, said,  “Miss Philippines is Miss World? What a joke! I did not know those maids have anything else in them, Ha Ha Ha.”
She described  Filipinas as “poor,” “smelly from cleaning toilets” and “underprivileged.”

Monique, who found DeDiva’s comments “terrible,” said it smacks of discrimination against Filipinas.

“No one has the right to discriminate against any race. That slur was certainly a form of discrimination against Filipinos. Why do we see maids as being lowly? Why? They do an honorable job. They contribute to society and are well-respected and well-appreciated in many countries . We have to be proud of that and not allow people to demean us in that way.”

One Billion Rising

Monique, whom Tony award-winning playwright, performer and activist Eve Ensler chose as global director of One Billion Rising, a movement that aims to end violence against women and girls, thinks the public outrage should make Filipinos think.

“Are we getting mad at the fact that we were called maids, or are we getting mad that someone is being discriminatory against us?”

The seasoned theater actress condemned DeDiva’s slur as a form of violence.

“When you say, ‘Maid ka lang,’ what does it mean?  We see them as lowly. Let’s not succumb to that level of discourse. We have to educate the people who think that way and talk about the value of our domestic workers.”

Monique stayed in London for 13 years and returned to the Philippines to do her “dream job” – helping women fight all forms of injustice.

The activist in her wants a change of mindset in the way people look down on maids.

“Pinay maids help families take care of and raise their children. I have friends in London who are workers.”

The Pinay maid issue is just the tip of the iceberg that is discrimination against women.

Economic violence

Monique says the worst form is economic violence. It breeds poverty, and with it, prostitution, sex trafficking and other social woes. Another problem is environmental injustice.

“It’s  a form of economic violence,” Monique notes.  “You go to  mining areas in the Philippines where you have  indigenous communities and you see soldiers raping women.

“Monique recalls last year’s visit to the Payatas dumpsite, where  she saw “nine-to-ten-year-old girls selling their bodies to those guarding the place para lang makakuha sila ng permit (to scavenge).”

Monique even slammed the Visiting Forces Agreement because it means “more brothels,  more prostitution, more sex trafficking of women.”

Her causes are long and widespread. And Monique has a lot more horror stories, based on her overflowing emails from around the world.
“You won’t be able to sleep (if you read them),” she warns.

And since she can’t just sit there and do nothing, Monique is urging everyone to join One Billion Rising for Justice.  How?

"This time we’re asking people to dance  outside places where they are being denied justice. It’s symbolic.  People can gather in courts, outside Congress, in schools, in the workplace where they feel justice is being denied them.”

Art and activism

The movement, after all, is art and activism combined. Dance, says, Monique, is a form of expression that rids us of inhibitions.  It is collective energy.

She’s calling on artist-friends to help her.  Musicians can write songs about the cause. Stage artists can mount start a “revolutionary theater.”
The middle class – lawmakers, businessmen and others – should also pitch in.

After all, says Monique, they have mothers, sisters and female friends themselves.

Netizens can check out to view a short film featuring One Billion Rising 2013.

But the biggest event is set on Feb. 14, 2014, or V-Day, when people are expected to converge outside places to cry for justice for women.

Monique wants to start now, because the job is Herculean. For starters, she is traveling around the country and hooking up with Gabriela and other women’s groups to see what else has to be done.

The artist and activist in her – now all rolled into one – couldn’t be happier.