Once a year, I close shop. And it doesn't happen during Semana Santa, but during a Philippine gay holy week, that is, Miss Universe season. It's been the case for as long as I can remember -- since my childhood in Manila, during which the street kids where I grew up would stage our version of Miss Universe in friends' houses.
To the self-proclaimed feminists who judge me for my involvement in pageants, I want you to know that I do not compete in pageants for the attention of men. I am proud of my body, but it does not define me or validate my worth. I compete in pageants because I like them. Feminism and femininity can co-exist.