To the thumping beat of techno music they prance onstage in high heels, gyrating their hips, jiggling their breasts, mouths agape in exaggerated ecstasy, their skimpy clothes barely able to contain their assets. The audience claps and cheers and stamps in tune to the music.
A scene from a nightclub? Hardly. It's the height of noon, and this is what passes for lunchtime entertainment in the Philippines.
They go by different names: Sex Bomb Girls, Wowowee Girls, EB Babes, ASF Dancers, etc. But they're all cut from the same mold. Their songs sound the same and their moves look the same. They're indistinguishable from each other except for the channel they're on and the hosts they're with.
Among these dancers, short skirts and pigtails or ponytails are de rigeur. During moments of suspense, they bring their hands to their faces and squeal in high-pitched glee. Their signature songs, though loaded with innuendo, are sung in schoolgirl chorus fashion.
If the noontime show is a reflection of pervading tastes, then perhaps these girlie groups are a reflection of a persistent and prevalent Filipino sexual fantasy: young and nubile, teasingly shy, inexperienced yet willing, ever ready to please, malleable to every whim and wish, their innocence waiting to be plucked.
Elsewhere, makeup artists apply lipstick and eyeshadow and rouge to round bubbly faces; couturers doll them up in miniskirts and miniature heels; choreographers twirl them to innuendo-laden songs; And all the while, their mothers and aunts cheer, hopeful of their daughters' chances in the "Little Miss...." pageant.
In 2006, the National Statistical Coordination Board released the following figures: there were 6,355 child sexual abuse cases reported to the Department of Social Welfare Development over a two-year period. Of these, 6,239 (98%) pertained to girls while only 116 (2%) pertained to boys. (Source: )
Contrast this to the World Health Organization's worldwide estimates of 150 million girls (67%) and 73 million boys (23%) who suffered sexual abuse in 2002. (Source: "Global Estimates of Health Consequences Due to Violence Against Children", WHO)
But little girls do not stay little girls forever. Sooner or later, they grow up to be women. What happens when the fantasy comes crashing against reality? The same NSCB document reports over 11,600 cases of violence against women in the same two-year period. The largest proportion? 5,800 cases (50%) of physical injuries and wife battering.