For a society who has embraced Eurocentric standards, we’ve clearly forgotten that being “balbon” used to be seen as beautiful in our culture.
On Wednesday, Pinoy Big Brother alumna Vivoree Esclito, became a trending topic on social media after being the butt end of a joke on ABS-CBN’s noontime show “It’s Showtime.” In a clip uploaded on Twitter, the hosts are seen trying to guess the celebrity singer’s identity during the show’s “Hide and Sing” segment by only seeing certain parts of their body.
When the camera panned over the contestant arm showing visible body hair, host Jugs Jugueta exclaimed, “Ah si Vivoree ‘yan!” after which some of the hosts chuckled.
Twitter user @mhegzy19, who posted the video, wrote in the caption: “This is not funny, this is the last time you’re gonna make fun of her.”
Esclito responded to the incident on social media, posting a graphic that depicts the many natural changes that a woman’s body undergoes and the line: “Don’t you dare make me feel ashamed of my body.”
On Twitter, Esclito seemed to take the remark in stride, posting a tweet that said: “when someone makes fun of your looks, let our response be: ‘gwapa/gwapo gihapon’ (I am still beautiful)”
She also retweeted a tweet she wrote back in 2019, where she asked body-shamers to be “sensitive enough” to spare other people from remarks that attack their insecurities.
She also retweeted a tweet made by one @lalalab___ which read: “You can joke all you want, laugh all you want but NEVER EVER use someone’s insecurities as your JOKE on NATIONAL TV.”
In the clip, It’s Showtime host Karylle was also caught calling out Jugueta and saying, “I’m a very balbon girl also, ganun lang talaga.” Jugueta then replied with an apology, saying his remark was just a joke.
Following the upload, “VIVOREE” became a top trending topic on Twitter overnight, with Esclito’s fans rallying behind her.
Under the topic, one user uploaded another clip from another It’s Showtime episode. This time, it’s host Vice Ganda who can be heard making fun of a concealed contestant’s bushy eyebrows, shouting repeatedly, “Ay kilala ko ‘yan! Si Vivoree ‘yan! Si Vivoree ‘yan!”
Another user also uploaded a video showing Esclito during an interview in the evening talk show, Tonight with Boy Abunda, where she shared how she used to be bullied for being “balbon.”
To show support, fans flooded the topic with their tweets slamming body-shamers and promoting body autonomy for women’s bodies. They also made note of Esclito’s past feats of emotional strength, specifically during her stint inside the PBB house.
Esclito was part of the roster of housemates for “Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7” back in 2016. She also starred as Kookai in the hit BL (Boys Love) web series “Hello Stranger” and the subsequent film, “Hello Stranger: the Movie.” Currently, she is one of the contestants in the third season of ABS-CBN’s “Your Face Sounds Familiar.”