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Macho, Macho Men and the Matriarchal Philippine Society

n online article a week ago concluded that the reason that Deniece Cornejo the vixen in the Vhong Navarro mauling incident Deniece Cornejo accused of befriending actor Vhong Navarro, inviting him to her condominium. Then along with her accomplice Cedric Lee she is accused of having Navarro beat up and accused of rapewas being mercilessly vilified was because Philippine society tends to treat women that way (LINK). The writer a certain Tricia Aquino in collaboration with Judy Taguiwalo a University of the Philippines professor in the Department of Women and Development Studies, try to paint a bleak picture of Filipina women as persecuted second-class citizens who end up being blamed for the troubles that befall them.

Ms. Aquino writes, Professor Taguiwalo ”acknowledges that to this day, misogyny, the hatred or dislike of women, continues to inform how many Filipinos -- including women themselves -- see women.” This of course is the furthest thing from the truth and pure hogwash! It is a scenario concocted by a writer who it seems hasn’t matured enough to truly understand Philippine society, and a professor of women’s studies who apparently knows next to nothing about Filipina women. If Ms. Taguiwalo exemplifies the caliber of its current faculty, it is no wonder then why UP has fallen significantly in rank compared to other universities around the world.

The Philippines in fact is seen by many as a matriarchal society. Women run the country, not overtly mind you, but make no mistake as to who truly wields power from Aparri to Jolo. From the family unit to the largest family corporations, women usually call the shots or are the power behind the throne. For instance, in a 2002 article by Wilson Lee Flores (LINK), he points out that “it was matriarch Mercedes Zobel McMicking who made the family of her nephew Jaime Zobel de Ayala gain control of the Ayala business empire by taking away power from her other nephew Enrique Zobel.” Over and over again—from Diego Silang’s widow Gabriela, to Imelda Marcos, to Cory Aquino, to Kris Aquino who more than anyone was responsible for putting her brother Noynoy in Malacañang—Filipinas are the ones calling the shots in the Philippines. In fact most married Filipinos acknowledge this fact by jokingly referring to their wives as their “commanders.”

Look at the Philippine Senate as an example. No one dares step on Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s "toes." She is a firebrand who despite medical ailments introduced more pieces legislation last year than any of her male counterparts.Painting of Gabriela Silang a heroine of the Philippine revolution who fought against Spain after her husband Diego was assassinated. Her actions lead to her execution by the Spanish authorities on September 20, 1763 Senators Joker Arroyo, Gringo Honasan, and the rest of the men may think they’re the hotshots but all pale in comparison to Defensor-Santiago.

And why shouldn’t Filipinas be calling the shots? Their male counterparts sadly leave much to be desired. Pinoy males who belong to the middle-class on upwards have yayas (nurses) who dress them, feed them, and attend to their needs from birth all the way to adolescence. Then these "boys" continue living with "mommy" well into their thirties or forties. They have housemaids, houseboys, and drivers who do all the heavy lifting for them. Thus compared to men from other countries, Filipino males are just plain wusses. There are exceptions of course, but those exceptions are very few and very, very far between.

So, the little secret everyone seems to be in on—except for Tricia Aquino and Judy Taguiwalo—is that behind the macho façade, it is Pinays not Pinoys who run the country. Now back to the question: Why then are people so incensed with Deniece Cornejo? The reason is simple: what people hate more than anything else is treachery. And this is what plastic-surgery enhanced, angelic-looking Cornejo appears guilty of. Now if that indeed turns out to be the case, then we hope they lock her up and throw the key to her jail cell into the murky, stinking, waters of the Pasig River. Published 02/5/2014


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