I read the article about the beauty pageant in your 30 June issue ("Really?") and was disappointed by the framing of the pageant as a product of The Ink People. Although you later noted that the Ink People has over 60 programs, the text implied (in particular, the phrasing on the front cover) that the pageant originated from the central body of the organization. This framing already carried with it the bias of incendiary news. It is difficult to discern whether we are getting news or the diffused opinion of the journalist and/or Journal staff. I feel The Ink People's involvement in the beauty pageant was exaggerated. The Ink People did not host the American Beauty pageant. If you look at The Ink People's DreamMaker programs, you will find that it paints a much clearer picture of the beauty we see in diversity.
That being said, we live in a society with contradictory perceptions of beauty and I feel we are too often told how to be beautiful as people and what that means. We have local health food stores that sell "beauty" magazine alongside the alternative news and health periodicals. Locally our expression of beauty is often inverted and then inverted again. (Is a burlesque show progressive or conventional? Should Charlie Myers only endorse independent movies in which the lead actors have not received botox "treatments"?) As a board member of The Ink People, I believe that we do not want to be an organization that censors its programs by determining if their events meet our notions of "rightness." I think this has too many parallels with the kind of government that many locals would like to challenge. The Ink People supports our programs' efforts to try things that may or may not be what we "like." I do think the article raised some good questions about the degree to which The Ink People should monitor its DreamMaker programs and this is not an easy question to answer. I mostly believe that through freedom and honest communication, people will experience the layered meaning and consequence of their actions and that this is a delicate process. In summary, I believe dialogue rather than control makes for a more meaningful society.
Leslie Howabauten, Manila