|Geminoid F poses for pictures in Hong Kong’s Cityplaza mall; taken from http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/30/watch-woman-or-machine-sophisticated-japanese-she-bot-blurs-the-line/|
- Springer, K. (2012). Watch: Woman or Machine? Sophisticated Japanese She-Bot Blurs the Line. Retrieved last March 18, 2013 from http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/30/watch-woman-or-machine-sophisticated-japanese-she-bot-blurs-the-line/
- Markman, A. (2008). Unpredictability is in our nature: Why are people so unpredictable? Retreved last March 18, 2013 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/200811/unpredictability-is-in-our-nature
- Lewis, C.S. (n.d.). The Magician’s Nephew. Retrieved last March 18, 2013 from http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/29188-what-you-see-and-what-you-hear-depends-a-great
- Strickland, J. (n.d.) Human Intelligence. Retrieved last March 18, 2013 from http://curiosity.discovery.com/question/mysteries-brain-rise-myths-capabilities
by Kristine Crusem
|Image taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki
Is it possible for a human being to fall in love or to have feelings with an android? In the movie ‘Eve no Jikan’, the answer to this question is yes. I also agree with this proposition. In the movie, the characters of Rikuo Sakisaka and Masakazu Masaki showed how they display emotions and feelings toward their androids. In the case of Sakisaka, he has a female android named Sammy. Initially, it is absurd for Sakisaka to think that his android can actually do things on her own or even have her own emotions. When he found out that Sammy is actually visiting this cafe called ‘The Time of Eve’, he was shocked and he seemed to find it hard to accept. However, in the latter part of the movie, he acknowledge the idea that Sammy can also have her own emotions and feelings. The very act of him considering the well-being of Sammy is a manifestation of showing care towards the android. Another character that showed feelings towards an android is Masaki. Masaki considered Tex, his own android, to be his best friend since he was a kid. He was very attached to Tex for the android was always there for him to take care of him, especially when his parents are always not around the house. Tex served as the one whom Masaki share his problems with. Tex served as his company as he is growing up. There is also another instance in the movie wherein a girl mad her android his lover.
|Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid; Image taken from http://lewisbrooks.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/maslow-hierarchy-needs.jpg|
Nevertheless, how is it possible for us humans to fall in love with a non-human, especially to our very own creations? First, let us consider Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. According to Abraham Maslows, quoted by Cherry (n.d.), “…these needs are similar to instincts and play a major role in motivating behavior”. Taking this hierarchy of needs into consideration, when a human’s needs are met by these androids It is possible that humans have this sense of attachment to them. When androids can provide security and even the sense of love and belonging, we as humans can be moved by their actions.
- Cherry, K. (n.d.). Hierarchy of Needs: The Five Levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Retrieved last March 18, 2013 from http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds.htm
Night falling in love with Riiko – is it a human-nature-type of love or just the way he is programmed?
In psychology, self-concept or self-identity refers to how an individual views himself/herself (Kihlstrom et al., 2005). It is influenced by the environment and his/her own biological makeup. A person’s default self (biological makeup) and social self (shaped by other people) interplay for a person to create his own perspective of himself and the world, and to generate responses to things.
Just like any other computers, androids have memory which acts as information storage. This is where they retrieve all necessary information for their overall functioning. They have two types of knowledge. One is embedded memory; that is, the initial programmed memory stored by the manufacturer. The other one is the memory ‘learned’ by the android from its master through his commands. Whatever the master says gets stored in the android’s memory to increase its efficiency.
Ever heard about CLEVERBOT?
This is because computers, they may have memory, but they do not know how to put them all together to generate meaning.
Remember Doris (DOR-15) from the movie “Meet the Robinsons”?
Is that possible, for something man-made to go beyond how it is programmed? I don’t think so.
Sum Res Cogitans. It means “I am a thinking thing.” Thinking is not only limited to retrieval of information from memory, and perceiving the experience of things. It is also about making sense of things, and reflecting from it. The main characteristic that distinguishes a human person from an android is that humans are the only ones who makes sense of their thinking. They are the only ones who are able to perform such complex cognitive tasks such as forming relationships between things for further understanding of things. In psychology, this is called meaning-based knowledge. This is based on the semantics formed upon perceiving things. For example, we understand what a chair is not just through mental images such as its salient features and structures, but also its uses and what we associate chairs with. We associate it with a table as its partner, its use for sitting, how it is used in classrooms, houses and work places, etc. Androids cannot do that. They only know that a chair looks like this and is used for this, depending on how their masters orient them with it. They can never realize that the ergonomics of a chair can also be suitable for other kinds of support on materials.
Dear INTFILO students,
I will not be able to meet you on Monday because of our annual Department Community Outreach which will be mangrove-planting in Batangas for this year. Please be guided accordingly. Also, inform your classmates about this announcement.
Because a nuanced reflection is a key ingredient to a real feminist work, bravo!
On the Movie Insiang
When we first watched the film, I was hit by a sudden wave of déjà vu. I was pretty sure I had already watched the film, but had no recollection of the story or the circumstances in which I might have previously watched it. With this in mind, I tried to pay a lot of attention to the details in the movie, hoping that I’d remember it before the end. I only realised I’d already watched it when I saw Dado get killed though, so I ended up watching almost the whole movie paying attention to details.
There were a lot of things I didn’t like (as our professor may have noticed by the fact that my paper had a lot of scribbles on the bottom about Insiang, her mother, and the women in the film and their portrayal) but some changes that happened in the progression of the film helped greatly lessen those feelings. That doesn’t mean I was able to be rid of them though. I was still mostly displeased with the film, and the reason for this lies mostly in what I find key in it: perception.
With regards to the article on feminism, the double bind, and the situation of women in the poor communities of the urban side of the Philippines, I think Insiang was a sad but accurate portrayal of the sad reality of women’s places in those areas. Despite what many would say (especially those who subscribe to the brand of feminism that puts forth the argument that women should use their sex as a weapon in order to gain advantages over men), I don’t believe the film was a particularly uplifting feminist statement.
Although Insiang was able to extract what she wanted out of Dado and gained her revenge on both him and Bebot, the fact this was simply a means to an end that was still highly focused on her disempowerment by men makes it a sad ending, at least for me. Insiang was more broken by the end of the film rather than empowered, and her relationship with her mother was also strained. The women in the film were not even able to reap the benefits of “putting the men in their place” as deserving from their actions. There was no great change in how they were viewed either. In retrospect, the burst of strength and willpower on Insiang’s part only really served to disadvantage the women more. I mean, how positive will it look if a man is slain in a woman’s household, and with all the stories surrounding them? Where will Insiang go, when she had been dependent on almost EVERYONE around her? Her act of rebellion felt very weak in that it had hardly any long-term benefits for her, and only weakened her position with the rest of the community.
The reason why I find this movie static (from an attempted feminist point of view) for the characters is because nothing changed in how they were viewed, or how they might have viewed each other in the film. The article “I Am Angry” stresses the importance of perception – from the woman’s perspective and of those around her – when it comes to a woman’s life and freedom. The perception of women remains largely unchanged and I believe highly negative throughout the whole film, save for a few moments here and there. One may argue that the audience may have changed their views on Insiang after her change in behaviour, but I am also a part of the audience and I don’t quite think so. Looking back at the film, I found Insiang to be so dependent – on Bebot, to get her out of the miserable household, on Dado, to extract revenge on Bebot and to hurt those who may have hurt her (including her mother, although that may have been an unconscious motive), and even on her mother, to get her revenge on Dado and then to restore what she lost in herself by the end of the film, although her mother didn’t give her the emotional reconciliation she might have hoped. I think, regardless of how bold her moves were, in the end, she was still so weak. And that kind of view I have of her is what really made me displeased with the film, although it really was a good one.
Going back to the point on perspective, the article, “I Am Angry” points out that those expectations of women had always been a certain way, and especially perpetuated in poor communities, such as the study area in the article and in the movie Insiang. These expectations show how women are viewed, how they are perceived, and ultimately affect the treatment and the kinds of opportunities that these women receive throughout their lifetime in the communities. The article mentions the view of women as simply bodies – not as people to be respected but simply bodies with which one is free to do almost at will. This leads women to be objectified, much as Insiang was throughout most of the film, and throughout the duration of her relationship with Bebot.
This kind of burden of expectation and the limiting of external movement and opportunity creates constraints for personal growth for the woman, and in this, her behaviour becomes affected. This can explain Insiang’s behaviour throughout much of the film, where she is often reserved and silent, until she is ‘broken’ by the experience of rape. The article points out that women can be awakened to a better worldview, but that the awakening must occur for the female consciousness to develop. This led to her changes in behaviour for the rest of the film.
Another view that particularly restricts women, especially in these communities, is the “paradox of domesticity” brought to light by the article. This is a cultural perspective that has developed and perpetuated itself over time and has only recently been truly challenged by societies all over the world. However, those areas which may not be as ‘wired’ as the rest of the world still experience the full effects of this paradox, and feel the constraints of this double bind. This is a focus on the idea that “when you do, you’re damned, and when you don’t you’re damned” – and this is very much evident in the paradox of domesticity. When you completely acquiesce with this view and accustom yourself to it, you become a ‘slave’ to the social construct, and a prisoner of patriarchy. When you do not, you become an antagonist to the peace of the domestic life, and are a ‘rebel’ with hard morals.
Women are both empowered as an essential element in the personal and family life of an individual, but also very limited with regards to their placement within the rest of society. This situation, with other cultural perceptions, shows an embedded character consciousness in women. This necessitates a struggle for liberation as women, as the article mentions (see: awakening), but the struggle remains quite fruitless in the communities in the movie and the article. The women remain defined by this view, and are still limited. Each situation faced by these women remains a paradox and the women are still “stuck”.
The article also describes three ways of coping with oppression and pain. I do believe that despite the difference in the three ways to cope (invitation, remembering, and recollection), there would still be a limitation and a similarity in the three and their effects on the women involved.
I imagine that if Insiang’s mother and friends (or just the women in the community) were more accepting and understanding of Insiang’s situation instead of jumping to conclusions, they may have been able to prevent the domestic abuse and the general violence that occurred in the film. If Insiang had instead attempted to take the “remembering” track and tried to accept and deal with the situation differently, the outcome may still have been a repetition of the events in the film because she did take it in and use it to her advantage. However, it was only at the end that it showed that she didn’t truly accept it, as the “remembering” track prescribes. If she did, then the question remains what the outcome may have been. With that, I believe the movie did follow the recollection track, although not exactly. It was probably the closest estimate to this though.
All in all, I believe that perception plays a heavy part in the progression of feminism in the Philippines, as evidenced by the ideas and concrete examples put forth by the article and the movie. The importance of feminism cannot be denied, and the movement must continue because stronger women making a push for it may allow for expansion and inclusion of national interest with women and then other oppressed groups. For Filipinas, it shall be a good way to enable them to get out of oppression and the poor situations they are in (mostly those in the communities in the article and film). However, these are all reliant on the effects of feminism in changing everyone’s perceptions, and then actions, towards women.
One of the best work from my students by far!
The concept of “Feminism” can be used to explain a political, cultural/social, or economic movement that is designed for establishing equality of the sexes, activism, and legal protection mainly for women. The said concept includes theories that are political and sociological and even philosophies that deals with issues of gender difference, gender equality and campaigns for the rights and interests of women. The history of the feminist thought can be divided into three waves. As what was stated by Maggie Humm and Rebecca Walker, the three waves started from the 18th and early 20th centuries, wherein the movement was mainly to liberate women legally, economically, and politically.During the first wave was the time when the 19th Amendment was approved and women were already given the right to vote. The first-wave feminists came from all parts of theideological spectrum, i.e. Libertarian, Christian conservative, Socialist, and Anarchist. Meanwhile, the second wave was during the 1960s and 1970s. The focus was about the increasing economic chance for and in stopping social discrimination against women. Leftists dominated this wave, unlike those in the first one. Feminist thought has been developed more in recent times, starting from the second wave, wherein it was focused more on an educated approach. Lastly, the third wave started from the 1990s up to now. This wave continued the issues the second wave focused on, like the reproductive rights, gay and transgender rights, abolition of sexism and racism, economic quality and social justice for women and other groups treated as inferiors, and environmentalism. We could say that the theory of feminism has extended through time from these feminist movements.
Basically, what feminism is trying to do is to examine the status of both men and women in the society, which will be mainly for the benefit of women. Feminist theorists have also started to investigate the differences between women, as well as how race, class, ethnicity, and age are interconnected with gender. Feminism may be considered as a tool for uniting all women, and giving a voice to them, as well as giving importance or recognition to their contribution to the society. There are actually four main types of feminist theory, namely gender differences, gender inequality, gender oppression, and structural oppression. I will not be discussing each four of them, but will at least try to give a hint on what they are all mainly about, and that is explaining the societal differences between men and women.
With the movie we watched in class, entitled “Insiang,” I think the said issue regarding the societal differences between women and men and the recognition of the contribution of women in the society were shown. First, I’d start with a brief background to what the movie is all about. So, the movie was mainly about Insiang, Tonya (her mother), Dado, and Bebot. Insiang’s father has abandoned them already, and since then, her mother started mistreating her. When her mother got rid of her father’s relatives from their house, Dado then started to move in with them. Dado, who was Tonya’s live-in partner, loves Insiang. On the other hand, Insiang has a boyfriend, Bebot. That is why Dado used his power to stop Bebot from seeing Insiang.
One night, when Tonya was still sleeping, Dado raped Insiang. The following morning, Insiang told her Mom about what happened, but unfortunately Dado twisted the story and told Tonya that he was just seduced by Insiang. This is where I think I would first like to focus on. Well actually, there were two issues that struck me most. But first, I would like to raise the issue regarding the part where it was showed how the female victim who got raped was considered as the one at fault for what happened to her. Dado told Insiang’s mother that it was not his fault that he got teased because of the way Insiang dresses and behaves. As for the second issue, it was also illustrated in the movie how men are viewed as the only way for women to escape their lives. Even before Insiang got raped, she already wanted Bebot to marry her because she believes that he is the only way she can get away from home. Then after the incident, Insiang was already desperate so she asked Bebot to run away with her again as she believes that he’s her only hope now and that he could help her forget everything that happened to her. Unfortunately, Bebot only acted as if he was going to help Insiang to get what he wants from her. After they had sex, he just left her in a motel without even saying anything to her. Insiang, having no other choice, decided to go back to their house and live with her mother and Dado again. Only this time, she was already plotting her revenge. The story ends up with Bebot dead because of Dado, and Tonya put into jail for killing Dado. 
From the said movie, it was clear how the differences between both men and women are pretty much evident during those times. I’m not sure if it is proper to say that the inequality between men and women was “already” apparent during those times, or if it was “still” apparent. I guess I can only be sure of one thing, and that is the fact that both men and women have long been regarded and treated unequally. This is where the feminist movement comes in. To discuss this more clearly, I’ll also discuss the article, “I am Angry because you are Unjust,” which also shows how women are considered less than men. It was stated in the article how our culture bears down on women. There’s already this role given to women like being obedient and pure until they marry, and the caregivers of the family, which directs how society acts towards women and how women also perceive their selves to be. Moreover, in the said article, there were different stories about the hardships of Filipino women, especially the housewives from Tondo. The fact that they were already poor is not the only thing that makes them less fortunate, but also the fact that they areonly women.
This political and social role given to women has its roots from biology. Beauvoir even concluded, “Woman is womb.” From this we could say that women were only interpreted as a body, which defines them as less autonomous than men, or be considered as “the other.” Moreover, women being interpreted only as a body also entails that a woman essentially has the quality of suffering. But the women In Tondo refuses to agree to these answers to the question, “What is a Woman?” Going back to the movie Insiang and to the two issues I’ve raised, it is clear how there is an unequal treatment to men and women, right? So, with the first issue I’ve noticed in the movie, it was the woman who got raped that was regarded as the one at fault for what happened to her. Thing is, Insiang is not the only one who has experienced this, but there are plenty of other women in reality who are always blamed for getting raped, just because.
First off, what is rape? Sexual health, according to the World Health Organization, is the “integration of the physical, emotional, intellectual and social aspects of sexual well being in ways that are enriching and that enhance personality, communication and love.” And perhaps the most apparent problem to sexual health is rape, which is a well-recognized risk factor for a range of physical, reproductive, medical and psychosocial health problems that might lead to immediate or long-term outcomes. Rape is defined as the “act of forced penetration of any bodily orifice accomplished by the use of force, the threat of force or without force when the survivor is unable to physically or mentally give her consent.”Moreover, as stated in Article 266-A of the Philippine Anti- Rape Law of 1997, rape is committed: (1) by a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman under any of the following: a. through force, threat, or intimidation; b. when the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; c. by means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and d. when the offended party is under twelve years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present.; and (2) by any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned in paragraph 1 hereof, shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.
There are many cases wherein rape victims or women were the ones who were blamed for what happened to them that even the survivors blame their selves for this. There’s this common victim-blaming argument, which gives the example of you crossing a busy intersection without checking first if there’s any car on both ways. If doing so, most probably you’ll get hit by a car thus it can be said that you are indeed the one responsible for getting hit by a car because you unsafely crossed the street. Same goes to a woman for example, who went out drinking and got drunk and raped afterwards. That woman should also be at fault because it was her choice to go out drinking, which led to her getting raped.
What the instances like the one mentioned above states is that girls shouldn’t drink too many, go out alone, wear revealing clothes, or do anything that would put their selves in danger and to avoid provoking men. This does make sense in some way, but still, we couldn’t say that the rapists raped a woman only by accident, right? Using the example used above, the driver of the car that hit you when you crossed the street unsafely can only be considered as an accident. Perhaps he/she didn’t have much time to hit the brakes or something. But we couldn’t say the same for a rapist, can we? It’s not like the rapist could reason out that he accidentally inserted his penis into the girl because she was wearing a skirt or something. The rapist had a choice not to rape, so these kinds of incidents shouldn’t be blamed solely to girls for how they act or dress. Just like in Insiang, Dado pointed out that he’s only human and he can’t help it if he got seduced with how Insiang dresses and acts. Unfortunately, Insiang’s mother believed Dado and got mad to insiang for being “malandi.” This is exactly the problem, because people are so busy blaming rape victims for the way they act, the choices they make, and the dresses they wear that they forgot that there is also a need for educating men on how they should control their feelings and emotions to avoid committing such crime.
According to a study of Ignacio and Perlas in 1995 on Filipino victims, before the rape and even right before they were raped, these women did no evident step to fight or escape from the attack. Although many of them admitted that they actually had the feeling that they were going to get raped, still, they did not do anything to fight or escape. Meanwhile, during the actual rape per se, victims said that they have been passive due to the effect of a drug or they got too drunk, which made it impossible for them to fight and use violence against their attacker. That is why after the rape, most victims suffer from self-blame. Physiologic and emotional reactions were the most common behaviors of the victims after the incident, wherein victims blame themselves for their careless behaviors, and also see their selves as worthless. This belief that woman may have invited the attack either consciously or unconsciously, has caused people to give little sympathy for the rape victim. According to Lerner, many people are biased to believe in a “just world,” which essentially states that most people believe other individuals get what they deserve according to how good or bad they are. The belief that the victim may have acted in a way to provoke the attacker also follows.
Victims of rape need to do a lot of things in order to forget such a traumatic experience. Most likely, women seek help from men because they believe that they are their only hope. As seen from the movie Insiang, she thought that she didn’t have any other choice to escape but through Bebot. She wanted to elope with him and even promised to do anything for him just so he would agree. She did this because she, herself, believed that men are better than women. She knew that she needed help from him to survive and recover. What she should have was to go away from home and live on her own. She has the abilities to do so on her own. She could have left home and looked for another one and then continue doing laundry or find a job. She didn’t have to go to Bebot and ask help from him, because she should’ve believed that she can on her own, provide for herself and recover. According to McKinnon, what started the Feminist movement is the recognition that the male power is real. In reality, we believe men to be the dominant one thus we see men as everything. When in truth, we are all the same. Women aren’t to be considered less than men, but it’s equal. This realization follows certain ways for women to cope with reality. In application, women who were raped follows ways in order to deal with their aggression and pain, but it need not be through the help of men. The first way is through invitation, wherein a woman needs to feel that she is accepted and accepted. As stated earlier, women who survived rape suffer from self- blame. This is where the help, opinions and reactions of the family, friends, or the whole community are needed. From this, a woman could be comfortable with her pain that would be the start for her to be able to accept her fate and continue with life. The second way is through remembering, wherein it is required to go back and recollect everything she has been through. By doing so, David Michael Levins believed that she would feel a need to regain herself, coming from the intensity of her pain. In remembering such traumatic experience, numbness might be inevitable in order to deal with the torture of recollecting the memory of a very tragic experience. To be numb will be needed in order to reach acceptance of one’s pain. A woman should be able to go deeper within her and know her fears to be able to be stronger and be full again. The last way is through homecoming. It is important to be open-minded or liberated in order to fully break-free and be fully aware of one’s self or identity.
In reality, many survivors feel guilty for getting raped. Some even helped the rapist in raping them, because there are instances wherein the rapist forces his victim to act like she is enjoying the rape. To avoid getting killed, the victim does so as what the rapist asks of her. There’s this survivor, Nancy Raine, wherein she chose to comply to the rapist in order to save her life. Up to now, this incident still haunts her because she cannot accept her decision to act as if she was enjoying the sex just to live. Many survivors other than her suffer from this, which only proves that there is also a need to help them and teach them the importance of going through the given ways above to understand that it was not their fault someone decided to do such a horrible act to them and that they can still go on with their lives.
Rape and other forms of violence against women, like sexual harassment, sex trafficking/pornography, child sexual abuse, physical abuse, and other domestic violence are not a problem of women alone, but of the whole society. With these issues regarding women and rape, the feminist movement has already made a great impact since it first started. Feminists were the ones who tried and are still continuously trying to change the common belief or thinking that the victims are the ones to be blamed for getting raped. Also, the feminist movement has provided ways to educate women on how they could survive and defend their selves if ever they get attacked. Generally, feminists have had a great impact on how the society treats the issue of rape, and how women themselves protect their selves and recover from such experience.
Given the issues I’ve raised regarding how women are commonly blamed for getting raped and the hardships of women in coping with their aggression and pain shows that there is a need public awareness of the violence and horror of rape as a start to make social change really possible. Feminism could be of great help for Filipinos, or mainly the Filipino women, because this movement calls for the restructuring of society and even gender identities. The acknowledgement of women to the fact that men are dominant than men was the start of the movement. The consciousness to the unequal treatment has started the move against the fight against violence and the oppression to women. It is true that Filipino women have long been enjoying rights, like the right to education and the right to vote. But is that all Filipino women or even all the women in the world needs? Well, the answer is no. In the society we live in today, there is still this established view on women. We could see this in how the media supports the customary image of women as martyrs, sex objects, mothers, housewives, and as mistresses. Women are still described with inferior roles than men and are mostly depicted as dependent on men, nurturers, submissive and are only concerned more on how they look and leisure. Well, yes, looking on the bright side, women in our country have been given more power and recognition than in other states. But having said this, we still could not say that Filipinas could already fully enjoy equal treatment from the whole Philippine society given the fact that there is still this belief about the societal and political roles that directs how society treats women. The move for the equal treatment and recognition to women is still a battle that we face everyday. It is not enough that we should be contented with what we are experiencing now just because, we Filipino women, are already treated somewhat equally to men than other states. We still have a long way to go in fighting for our rights and in establishing equality and fairness between the gender roles.
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 Craig Palmer, “Twelve Reasons Why Rape Is Not Sexually Motivated: A Skeptical Examination,” The Journal of Sex Research 25, no. 4 (1988): 512.
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Look! The guys in my GENDERS class have a sweet message for their female classmates on International Women’s Day!
I do love a thoughtful reflection!
AB – LIM
“Sure, but what can I do about it?” is an unfortunate question I hear get asked more than I would care to count, coming mostly from my female friends and acquaintances. An unfortunate question because “Sure, but what I can do about it?” is not a question nor is it meant to be, but rather a conversation-ender that denotes hopelessness, and suggests what’s done is done and that it will always be done that way— a way of thinking that stems from generations and generations of reinforcement. It first starts with the creation of a sort of unspoken restriction in activities which made sports a “men’s thing” while women are left with the arts and culture, then comes following suit are the drinks, being labeled as for men’s and then some for women’s; whiskey, scotch and the like belonging to the former, and cosmopolitans, margaritas and the like falling under the latter category. Matters such as sports and drinks may be trivial, almost insignificant to the context of the issue, but what they stand for and what they are saying about society and the discrimination everyone is facing today speaks volumes. The segregation of men and women has been going on and on and on for all sorts of matters, which brings us to today where the separation between the two has become too wide that it has made women fearful of their supposed counterparts and have the need to have a can of pepper spray as a “back up plan” for when they go out. However, storing cans of pepper spray and covering ourselves with layers upon layers of clothing can only help up to a certain degree. Establishing equal opportunities for women in education and employment is what we should be seeking, and feminism is a way to find just that.
Feminism can be interpreted in many ways. One definition provided for by Merriam-Webster is that feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women. But what it also is is a word that has gained somewhat unflattering associations over the years. To my surprise, when you type in “feminists” on Google, “feminists are stupid”, “feminists hate men” and “feminists are hypocrites” are among the top suggested searches. For all feminists have done and achieved for the greater good of men and women and everyone in between, the term is still a derogatory one to most and is treated with hostility. However, the treatment feminists receive comes from a misunderstanding of who and what they are. Feminists are identified as these over-the-top man-hating lesbians with double standards and who refuse to wear bras, and the concept of feminism as their excuse for their assaults and back handed slaps to men. It is easy to make these assumptions and generalizations from all the misrepresentation of feminists that the media is guilty of. To get a better appreciation for feminists, we must first acknowledge that what they are for is not the punishment of men and charity to women, but rather justice not in favor of one gender over the other, but for all.
One slaughter after another in a dark abattoir— a place that knows no fair dealing and sympathy, was the scene that Lino Brocka’s Shakespearean tragedy Insiang greeted our GENDERS class with; More than a foreshadowing of the fate of the film’s namesake, Insiang, but also a symbol of the situation of the women, particularly of the same economic and social standing during the 1970s. One minute chased another and it seemed the film was not leading to any happy endings any time soon, and the vulgar scenes made one wonder how accurate portrayals made by Brocka were. However, a story of a woman in Tondo as recalled in the article I Am Angry Because You Are Unjust: A Filipino Woman’s Awakening To Feminism written by Dr. Jeane Peracullo showed that Brocka’s Insiang was almost like a collection of the biographies and stories of the everyday lives of men and women residing in the slums, maybe even falling short to the true horrors of the Third World. Being financially unstable is just one of the struggles, being a woman is another. Insiang and Tonia proved that being a woman living in poverty during the 1970s was no easy feat; People, regardless of gender, are all possessed by a burning desire to live and freely, at that. However, living in poverty limits the opportunities and choices made available to be able to, and being a woman living in poverty further streamlines it. Women are often reduced to being objects, with everyone enforcing chastity and the value of remaining a virgin until they marry, as if their “worth” so to speak would lessen if they have been “opened” like canned goods. But, the hypocrisy is in the details, while instilling upon these virtues to the teenage girls, their mothers on the other hand are left with only prostitution and relying on the highest paying “John” as the means to survive another day.
However, the irony of it all really lies in that with all of these inequalities, women still are expected to be the homemakers and providers of their families and their extended relatives even, despite the constant male chauvinism that makes society always look at the one thing a woman who has done everything still has not. That combined with the thought that was always been lingering in the polluted air of their environment— that even the weakest man could do a much better job than the strongest woman.
Clothes, opportunities and jobs are not the only areas wherein there is an invisible line drawn to keep the women from a distance, but also in expression. Women are expected to endure everything that is coming their way, as if it has been “anticipated”. For so long, emotions— particularly when expressed by a woman, have been connected by many to irrational thinking. Outrage and anger has been something that has been treated with a certain malaise, but it is with these strong feelings that affect change and inspire passion. And if history is any indication, was it not Oskar Schindler’s outrage for the Nazi regime that saved generations of Jews? Moreover, as pointed out by Dr. Peracullo in her article, is it not through the expression of anger that the women of Tondo, and Insiang in Brocka’s Insiang, able to arrive at the conclusion that their being a woman was what the society had problems with? “It’s nothing personal,” they say. But, how can it be not?
So, the next time someone you know wonders, or maybe you would even wonder yourself, “Sure, but what can I do about it?” Let me tell you— not only are there plenty left to still be done, but you can do plenty.
Featured Video: Gabriel Abiera’s Group on Contemporary Interpretation of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
Just to inspire you for that Midterm Project:) Happy Weekend!
“Feminism is the radical notion that women are people too.”
– Cheris Kramarae and Paula Treichler
Women, Filipinas in particular, experience oppression in their everyday lives. It may not be noticeable to some, but Filipinas are bound by a gender trap that is formed by today’s society. According to Goldberg, all of us are still bound by the “psychological undertow of traditional sexual conditioning.” The traditional notion of what a woman should exude—submissiveness, sweetness, and naivety, to name a few—is a compartmentalization of the human psyche and is not “natural.” Apparently, there still seems to be a lingering problem on freeing our own sexual inhibitions.
In the movie Insiang, Insiang was portrayed to be a very obedient and helpful daughter. It was expected of her to go out of her way in order to satisfy the whims of her mother. She was neither promiscuous nor flirty. She was the epitome of a traditional Filipina woman. However, her disposition took a complete U-turn after she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend. That mindset of being a daughter who was so sweet and caring suddenly changed. She became a different person altogether. She sought for revenge, not only to the man who assaulted her, but also to her boyfriend who left her hanging after he got what he wanted from her, which was sex, and also her mother whom she deemed was the cause of her sufferings.
This kind of change in Insiang is just one of the many examples of effects to women who were oppressed in one way or another. The article “I am Angry…” discusses how this expression of anger, or any strong expression for that matter, is a sign of the ability to grasp reality. The reality that is neither beautiful nor carefree. It is through this sense of anger that Insiang recognized her incapability as a woman living in the slums with no one to turn to but herself. Moreover, this change brought about a sense of revenge for Insiang and a certain conviction to become even stronger. There is still another way, however, that Insiang might have taken in order to become aware of the fact that she is not everything a man is not.
The article further explains that this kind of realization involves 3 steps, namely: invitation, remembering, and recollection. Insiang, through invitation, could have searched for a support group to be her shoulder to lean on to help her get through the times wherein she just wants to give up or just when she needs a confidant or someone to open up to. In this way, she would have been able to lift some of the weight of her heavy heart due to the assault and maltreatment that have happened to her. Then, in the second stage of remembering, Insiang could have embraced the misfortune that happened to her and not use it as a cause for revenge. She could have deeply studied the way her body was forced into something unwanted and from there use that understanding to know her needs. It in this stage that Insiang would have learned from the abuse that happened to her, which eventually leads to the third step: recollection. Through the pain that accompanies the prior stage, Insiang could have learned how to use that pain into learning how to draw power from it. Remembering the pain and not denying it all entails a lot of strength which ultimately leads to acceptance. This in turn could have made Insiang not too drawn into deep sadness because of the abuse that happened to her, but instead took that it as an opportunity to grow as a person. A change that does not entail deceiving her abuser into almost killing by beating her boyfriend, or beguiling her mother into stabbing her abuser to death which led to her mother spending the rest of her life in jail. She could have used the experience of abuse to uplift the spirits of other women who have experienced the same thing, therefore creating more good than bad. Moreover, she could have used that experience to teach women how prevent it from ever happening to them.
But, what can also account for this change? How does poverty affect the lives of women? Poverty is one of the factors of the gender trap hounding Filipino society. According to Amnesty International, marginalized women are discriminated because they are poor. They do not have the same benefits like men do – they are paid less in work, have less access to justice, protection, and resources such as land, credit, and inheritance rights – even if they are the breadwinners of their families.A case in point is the case study in the article “I am Angry…,” wherein the woman in Tondo, even if she was the breadwinner of the family since her husband was laid-off from work, was still suffering from all the hardships of thinking where and how to get money to be able to feed their children. She was not accountable for any benefits when her house burned down due to a fire. She and her entire family were then forced out. In addition, violence is both a cause and consequence of poverty for women. They are forced into situations wherein they need to make difficult situations, which put them into a vulnerable state and open to chances of violence. The previously mentioned woman, before meeting her husband, was forced to move to the city from the province because of financial matters. This led to her being harassed by her boss in the house that she was working in as maid. And despite her efforts to seek justice, she was just thrown out of the house and was not duly compensated. This situation is an example in which poverty is linked to violence and is a reason why women are not able to freely make choices of their own and take a hold of their own lives.
Nevertheless, there is still a way forward. Successes in different divisions have been apparent in the Philippines nowadays. According to Geneva Global Aid, Filipina women are breaking cycles of poverty. Filipinas are now able to qualify and avail for larger loans and repay them entirely through the Center for Community Transformation. Furthermore, non-governmental organizations in the Philippines that protect the rights of women, build up necessary political will relating to different concerns, and spread awareness regarding feminism are growing in number. These in turn show that feminism engenders innovations and creativity that is productive not only for the Filipinas but also to the Filipinos as well. It opens the mind of people who are not the keen to accepting the independence and strengths of a Filipina, void of any traditional notion or compartmentalization.
 Amnesty International, “Women, Violence and Poverty – Breaking Out of the Gender Trap,” Amnesty International Annual Report 2011, 25 November 2009, pageNr., https://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/feature-stories/women-violence-and-poverty-20091125 (accessed February 24, 2013).
 Geneva Global Inc., “Filipino Women Break Cycles of Poverty,” Geneva Global Inc. Reports, 2005, pageNr.,https://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/feature-stories/women-violence-and-poverty-20091125 (accessed February 24, 2013)