Ilda and Gender Issues

I must confess that when a writer I regularly bash prepares a thought-provoking article, I need to step to the candor plate and offer up a compliment.
Ilda wrote such an article the other day posing the daring challenge: “Filipinas are Forced to Look for Real Men from Overseas”.  Interesting topic, provocatively presented. You can’t read this article and NOT think for it touches everyone, man, woman, Filipino, and foreigner.
Now for background, understand that Ilda and I have personalities that clash. I argue that we disagree so violently because we are fundamentally the same (sly, conniving, wordy escape artists), but she argues we are very different (I am the conniver; she is pure). (I’m the whore, she is the virgin.) Plus she thinks I am gender biased and don’t like women writers.
So there you go. But we subsist in the general same space, writing about Philippine culture and people and events, in agreement 80% of the time and arguing a little unkindly the rest of the time.
In this article, she did not come down with clear conclusions, being satisfied to bat about some ideas and letting her readers bat some more. Which they did.
The walk-away questions I was left with were:
  1. What is love between a young Filipina and an older Westerner? Is it (a) sexual  love, (b) romantic love, (c ) loyalty love, (d) practicality love, (e) or money love? Or (f) all of the above or (g) none of the above?
  1. Are Filipinas submissive or dominant in a relationship?
  1. Why do some Filipinas turn their romantic eyes toward Westerners, and away from Filipino men?
Well, of course, we can’t let these questions walk away without an opinion attached.
What is love between a young Filipina and an older Westerner?
I rather think it is hard to put all the fish in the same bucket. There are too many different kinds. The two variants that distinguish white/Filipina relationships from Filipino/Filipina are, more often than not: (1) age, and (2) culture. 
It seems to me not many people have the key to everlasting fealty and adoration, anywhere. Filipino dead-beat dads must number in the hundreds of thousands. Filipino husbands with mistresses, well, a big bunch. So I ask, with that as the moral framework, what do we care what a handful of old white guys and young Filipinas do?
I suspect these “odd couple” relationships start the way boy-girl relationships always do, with electricity, which turns to passion that either is long-lasting and respectful or blows up. Any love relationship is also bound in practicality, so if security and material wealth are important to the Filipina what’s really new with that? Only missionaries and others who enjoy self-sacrifice don’t seek material security.
White Guys Aren’t Totally Stupid
The only near-certainty is that the Filipina will be widowed young, and will need to find long-lasting fulfillment alone, or with her family, or with someone else.
Sounds like the kind of thing we all wrestle with during this phase of life or that. So for myself, I don’t care about why other people are getting together. Everyone rows his own boat.
Are Filipinas submissive or dominant in a relationship?
Well, in the Philippines the Catholic Church has for several hundred years imposed a value of feminine submission. Westerners are also steeped in Christian values, but over the past 100 years they have achieved  the “scientific” and practical enlightenment that women are downright competent in many jobs. Gender equality is a big deal in the States, the place where racial and gender bias was rampant until only 50 years ago. Divorce is common in America. About 50 percent of all marriages don’t make it until death do the partners part.
 In the Philippines, one of the last places in the world where divorce is not possible, wives are bound to, and therefore subservient to men for life. Even when the man is abusive or a deadbeat who has the heartlessness to abandon his kids, fathered in the heat of the moment, no care attached. Many poor women are also deprived of the education and methods that could allow them to build more fulfilling lives for themselves and more fruitful lives for their children. By producing fewer than a dozen kids, and treating them as something other than laborers.
Divorce and HR Bills are acts of law. Therefore, the LACK OF ENLIGHTENMENT in the Philippines rests with the LAWMAKERS not the citizens. This backward bondage of women in the Philippines is a gross failure of government.
The only thing that stuns me more than the backwardness of legislators is the passiveness of women.
Yet, in their hearts and minds and work efforts, Filipinas stand equal to men. Poverty does that. Exactly 50% of the past four presidents have been women. None had 14 kids, I observe with a wry smirk on my face.
Filipinas are neither submissive nor dominant, as a GENERALIZED rule, as far as I can tell. Filipinas are quick of mind and hard-working, although not particularly well-read.
Why do some Filipinas turn their romantic eyes toward Westerners, and away from Filipino men?
The operative phrase is “away from Filipino men”. The intimation in Ilda’s article is that Filipino men are bound in a macho culture that lacks tenderness or courtesy toward women. The suggestion is they are lazy and don’t bring home much upward progress. So Western men look attractive by comparison.
I personally have mixed feelings about this. I see Filipino men working extraordinarily hard doing the laboring of the nation. But I also know they will not stick with a job if there is a reason not to. Money comes in from an Uncle or they have a hangover from last night’s loud karaoke bash. They simply don’t show up for work, not comprehending that they leave the employer in a bind.
Among educated young Filipino men, I often see humor and  . . . yes, charm. But they are not the mainstream of manhood here.
To some extent, I see Philippine gender roles as a cultural remnant of the feudal age. The Philippine workplace has largely not adopted the modern management techniques of Western nations. Workers are offered few incentives, no counseling, no promotional opportunities, no place to go. The nation is locked into favors and has not injected into the workplace a passion for productivity and profit and healthy motivation, or aspiration for advancement. So the workplace is a big, boring, un- inspiring pit of stagnation.
Men just work there. And the women are stuck with the men.
And in conclusion, folks . . .
This is a nation whose people lack a broad view of a way to build riches by exerting willful, upright, manly or womanly dedication, humor and talent. It lacks the motivation, the drive, of self-fulfillment through work. Through self-improvement.
Government doesn’t get it. Bosses don’t get it. Ergo, people don’t get it.
Women just make the best of what they have to work with.
44 Responses to “Ilda and Gender Issues”
  1. Anonymous says:

    The bonus in marrying Caucasians is your kid might end up a very successful Celebrity/Model/Singer/Endorser here in the Philippines. God knows marketers hate using regular Filipinos on billboards unless they've bleached their skin. -patrioticflip

  2. Anonymous says:

    A passage from Ilda's aforementioned article:"Going back to Filipino men, what therefore makes some of them so unappealing could be the fact that they are not raised to be real men. They come across as deficient in testosterone on account of the way they just drink and hang around instead of work hard to give their family a decent life. Some of them just let their wives do all the work, which could mean going overseas to work as domestic helpers while their husbands spend what little money they have on vices."In fairness to Ilda, she knows what's she's writing about (at least this time). She's married to a Filipino man who trolls all day (under the guise of being a "home-based web designer") while she slaves away in an office to put food on the table and clothes on their kids' backs.Can anyone spell B-I-T-T-E-R? Ilda probably does.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Ilda can go on and on about why Filipinas prefer foreign men over Filipino ones (Filipino men are lazy, irresponsible, etc.). But aren't Filipinas also guilty of being lazy and irresponsible when they look for a husband who will be their ticket out of misery instead of working hard to uplift themselves out of poverty?I wonder if Ilda will also teach her daughter to prostitute herself to foreign men (FYI: she has a daughter).

  4. 1DC says:

    Talk about irony… or, rather, a wake-up call.

  5. Interesting. But if a Filipina married a rich Filipino, she would not be prostituting herself, but would be "marrying up"?

  6. I've argued that the obsession with white skin is racist against one's own race, but it is explained to me that it is just a cosmetic choice. Certainly as a white man, I receive courtesies that Filipinos do not show other Filipinos. I'm looking for that courageous Filipina star who makes the point "I'm proud to be brown", or "brown is beautiful". It seems to me no one "gets it". I do. Brown is beautiful. I tell my wife that as she trudges about under the umbrella on a sunny day, lugging her load of whitening creams. The words seem to go in one ear and out the other without stopping off at the brain.

  7. 1DC says:

    But then again, like all great perceptions worth being debated upon, it's all a matter of perspective.Some, those who choose to look at things from a different angle, would say a Filipina marrying a rich Filipino, as compared to her marrying a rich foreigner, would do so with intentions of lesser malice. Apparently, her motives would appear less vulgar. But at the end of the day, we all do things for all the apparent reasons; love, security, riches, fame, etc. Be it a relationship between an old lady and a young man, between same-sex lovers, or even politicians and actresses. It's all a means to an end. The worst cases would be best exemplified by how practicality outweighs morals and conventional behavior, all at the scrutiny of the self-righteous. In the end, who are we to judge?In any case, I've got to give it to I1da… Hers was an interesting topic – interesting enough that Joe had to write a separate article to give conclusion to some loose ends.

  8. 1DC says:

    Just curious Joe… What made you choose a Filipina over an 'Americana', if you don't mind? I'm beginning to think that our level of 'hospitality' is already sounding too over-rated, so please, tell us something original.

  9. Anonymous says:

    "Interesting. But if a Filipina married a rich Filipino, she would not be prostituting herself, but would be 'marrying up'?"It's just the same. I know I sound so condenscending, but it's because my mother always taught me to be independent. She always told me, "Never rely on anyone, especially on a man."Additional points:1. If a Filipina ends up with a lazy and irresponsible Filipino man for a husband, then whose fault is it? I don't think anybody held a gun to her head when she chose to marry such a person. A happy marriage begins with choosing well.2. It is very funny that we Filipinos acknowledge that Filipinas marry foreigners for the money, but we all get huffy when foreigners view Filipinas as "prostitutes" and "mail-order brides." If you behave like a gold-digger, then you will be treated accordingly.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Joe, I'm one of those rare Filipinas who is very comfortable with her brown color. I never believed in those whitening stuff – they don't work and are just a waste of money. And the only time I use an umbrella is when it is raining. Heck, I'm already dark-skinned – what's there to protect from the sun?Speaking of skin whitening, let me share you this true story:My professor back in college has a maid who was so obsessed with skin whitening products. She'd spend all her money on them and lock herself in the bathroom for hours using them. Guess what? According to my professor, that maid of his IS STILL DARK-SKINNED. I nearly fell off my seat laughing after he told me that story.

  11. Anonymous says:

    @1DC: Love knows no race, in the same way that admirable traits like honesty, dilligence and responsibility are not confined to a specific nationality or social class. If being a good person is something that is exclusive to the wealthy or to the whites, then how do you explain the poor Filipino taxi drivers who return the millions of pesos that their passengers leave behind in their vehicles? The problem with Ilda's article (and most of GRP's articles as well) is that it passes off stereotypes as fact. If you and your partner love and care for each other, then why let race get in the way?

  12. 1DC, one of the advantages of the US sending its young men off to fight is, if they live through the exercise, they are forever enriched by the cultures that touch them. In my case, it was Asian. Farm boy meets Vietnamese. Visits Hong Kong. It is all new, exciting, exotic. BEAUTIFUL, feminine women. My first wife was Chinese (Singaporean). I traveled extensively throughout Asia. When single again, and thinking about traveling to China, I searched for a travel companion. Fate gave me a Filipina, so I turned left out of Hong Kong instead of right, and toured islands instead of a big old hunk of landlocked land.

  13. Ms. Anon, independent, brown-skinned. You are different, an exception, which makes you exceptional, in my book.

  14. Ms. Anon, you know what your mother taught you was a fantastic concept called "responsibility". It is not commonly taught here, I think.

  15. 1DC says:

    @ Anonymous:I take it you're a Filipina who's single and available, with an extreme distaste for whitening creams…

  16. 1DC, "single and available . . ." ahahaha, careful young whippersnapper, I charge extra for match-making that occurs on my blog threads.

  17. 1DC says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. 1DC says:

    Joe, I doubt if I would be so lucky… But then again, I do know several dermatologists who give discounts on "glutathione" injectables…

  19. brianitus says:

    "But aren't Filipinas also guilty of being lazy and irresponsible when they look for a husband who will be their ticket out of misery instead of working hard to uplift themselves out of poverty?"If there are "better" options available, then it is a lazy and irresponsible decision. I think the kind of education (or lack of it) contributes to marrying for money.

  20. 1DC says:

    "lazy and irresponsible decision"True."…wide is the path that leads into temptation." But seriously, I think, 'opportunism' would be a more appropriate term when marrying someone for money. No educational level required; all that's needed is guts of steel and a whole lot of skin, er, exposed flesh…

  21. 1DC says:

    "Fate gave me a Filipina…"Joe, I sure hope your wife is taking this with an open mind.But wasn't there a time when you said to yourself: "Man, what am I doing? Shouldn't I go back to Uncle Sam's farm?" Or "I wonder how my old gal is doing back home?"

  22. 1DC says:

    Joe, btw, who's the one in the picture? don't tell me it's I1da.

  23. 1DC says:

    @Anonymous:"Love knows no race". Couldn't agree with you more on this one.'passing off stereotypes'indeed, taking a thin slice from a huge thing such as the truth, or the perception of it, and turning it into an entirely different thing has turned out to be more than a habit for those guys… and they are willing to defend it unconditionally. What's worse is that contradictions aren't always welcomed from other sources such as us. So again, amen to that, sister."Let race get in the way"To be honest, race is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Other obstacles are dangling behind, such as language barriers, customs, traditions, norms, morals. When was the last time you saw an odd couple: a gal from the province shadowing a foreign partner? Let's be honest, people around them do stare, and all for the wrong reasons. Is it because they don't pair up that well? Perhaps. Is it a simple case of poor taste for the foreigner? I don't know. But impressions are what observers go with, and they can't help but be judgmental most of the times. But like what you've said, stereotyping something and claiming it as the truth isn't always a good thing, generally.

  24. 1DC, you are hot tonight."glutathione ingectables" ahahahahaha, cracked me up."guts of steel and a whole lot of skin . . ." crackup number twoThe girl is NOT Ilda. ROTFLMAO for 10 minutes. I don't know who she is, as I just grabbed her from an image search. For some reason she positively jumped off the page and into my eyeball. Her smile is like my wife's. Maybe that's it . . .

  25. brianitus, I'd say lack of OPPORTUNITY for a real life is what contributes to marrying to escape . . . it is not so much what they are running FOR, as what they are running AWAY FROM.

  26. Anonymous says:

    @joe: "Ms. Anon, independent, brown-skinned. You are different, an exception, which makes you exceptional, in my book."Just goes to show you – values cannot be confined to a specific ethnicity or social class.And if ilda really believes that foreign men are good and Filipino men are lousy, how come she married benign0? Isn't she shooting herself in the foot with that?

  27. brianitus says:

    Opportunism and good use of a spreadsheet…=)lack of opportunity, that's usually from lack of education — empowerment, maybe that's word I'm looking for.

  28. brianitus says:

    I wanted to ask you the same question. I mean, who's that girl? Great smile ha.As for Ilda, I think she has a photo on her twitter account.

  29. 1DC says:

    Thanks Joe for clearing that up. I guess brianitus and I would sleep soundly tonight…brianitus, you know what's disturbing about I1da? It's the tag line she uses… Either she's a decepticon or someone who has gender issues…

  30. "Away from Filipino men" when read together with "why do some filipinas turn their romantic eyes to westerners…" leads me to ask what about those filipinas who marry foreigners, period? Over the last couple of decades, because of the OFW phenomenon, a lot of filipinas have married japanese, middle eastern, indian, chinese, korean and other non-caucasian men.The conversation on filipinas marrying westerners and the obsession with white skin reminds me of the controversy over successful black men and white women, usually blondes. It is a similar phenomenon in that many women in the black community see it as black men turning their romantic eyes to white women and away from black women. Filipinas marrying westerners and successful black men marrying white women attract a lot of attention but if one looks at the big picture, at the total number of mixed marriages versus same race marriages then Ilda is making a big thing about exceptions to the rule, just like those black women who complain about successful blacks marrying whites.It is a non-issue. One can make the same case for Filipinas marrying men of other races. The mixed marriages could have happened because the filipina was working or studying in the man's country. Or she could have met the man through the web and in that case english speaking males have a headstart communicating with filipinas. There are a lot of reasons for filipinas marrying into other races other than just some defect in filipino males or an obsession with white skin. And then there are the filipino males who marry westerners and women of other races. Is that an indication of some defect in filipinas?I think the phenomenon is simply a case of women, and men, who marry who they want to marry when they want to marry regardless of race, creed, culture, or politics but some nose counter collects "data" and then some sociologist reads the numbers and proceeds to identify a trend or a pattern of behavior and then makes some over-arching general conclusion on a phenomenon that is more of an exception than the rule. It is a non-issue because the numbers involved are too small to be called a pattern hence worthy of generalization.

  31. 1DC says:

    "a phenomenon that is more of an exception than the rule"Well said."It is a non-issue because the numbers involved are too small to be called a pattern hence worthy of generalization."Damn, you're good.

  32. GabbyD says:

    i liked Mb's comment. but joe, maybe you can share your own love story? how did u and ur wife meet?

  33. Yes, MB pretty well hit the nail on that, eh? I touched on my becoming attracted to Asian cultures, and the women who occupy them, in a brief summary in the comments above (to 1DC). The practical means was a web site at the time called "Asian Euro" (called something different now, I think).

  34. brianitus, "empowerment". Okay, yes, I understand your point. I think there are three variables. (1) The economy, and the number and quality of jobs it can present, (2) education, and (3) resourcefulness. The latter is the discipline and effort and willingness to take risks to find a job that is fulfilling. There would be more opportunities if the Philippine economy were deeper. It is broad but thin. So there are not many quality jobs even for well-educated people. There indeed ARE jobs for resourceful, educated people.

  35. Anonymous says:

    The readers of this blog has completely taken Ilda's article out of context. I think it is all Joe's fault for misleading everyone. Goes to show he's got malice. The GRP peeps are right about his hypocrisy.And I am so appalled by all this speculation about Ilda's personal life. I mean, what is your proof that she is married to benign0 anyway? And what is the big deal? Just because they are both writing for GRP? Puro kayo tsismoso! Shame on you!

  36. Anonymous says:

    "The readers of this blog has completely taken Ilda's article out of context."It's Ilda making an issue out of a non-issue. Filipinas marrying foreigners is simply a case of women, and men, who marry who they want to marry."I mean, what is your proof that she is married to benign0 anyway?"Two words: Google and Facebook."The GRP peeps are right about his hypocrisy."The GRP people are the ones who are guilty of hypocrisy. They are guilty of the very things they are accusing the Filipinos (stupidity, rudeness, etc.).

  37. "I think it is all Joe's fault for misleading everyone. Goes to show he's got malice."Right, I wake up each morning and figure out what evil I can do today . . . like break stereotypical thinking, expand the box, learn from others . . . pure dastardly evil. And then I recruit people to my blog site and brainwash them so they can't think for themselves.

  38. Anonymous says:

    @AnonymousMaybe you should read the article again because if that is the only thing you got from Ilda's article, then you obviously have low comprehension skills. Most of the commenters at GRP discussed so many insight compared to the commenters here. You guys are pathetic.Wow Google and Facebook told you? That's amazing. I think only people with too much time on their hands for unproductive things will believe you. Ha ha.Most Filipinos are stupid. This is evident in PNoy's win in the last election. They are just stating facts.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Amen to this. Nice reply, MB.

  40. 1DC says:

    "And I am so appalled by all this speculation about Ilda's personal life."Can you blame the public for being too curious of someone who writes such exceptional articles? From one misled reader to another, I'm sure Ilda wouldn't mind the extra attention; in fact, I think everyone in GRP craves for it.

  41. Attila says:

    I have been invited to visit the Philippines by a friend. It took me at least 15 yrs before I decided to go. My ex did not like the idea of visiting a 3rd world country with a bad reputation. I went to Cebu and Negros where I was a guest and that is where I met my fiance. I have a very positive experience with Filipinas but I'm not naive about my "success". I know why I'm liked. I understand the culture I know the values and the thinking. In the Philippines they like me for being a "white tall gwapo kano". I believe it is a racist country, however I'm the beneficiary of it and I'm aware why I'm liked. I don't have illusions. My guard is up from understanding why a Filipina is under pressure from her family to get support out of her Kano. I'm happy being with brown ethnic Filipinas who are considered to be ugly by many Filipino man. I enjoy their company and beauty. They are the warmest women I ever known. Funny how I was criticized by a few Filipinos of not having a good taste for choosing my fiance. I never been criticized by American friends but Filipinos only.

  42. Yes, you have to watch out for those sneaky Filipinas. They worm their way into your life and make you fall in love."I never been criticized by American friends but Filipinos only."When you've been here a while, you recognize this as a pattern about everything, not just your selection of women. It will be the size of your house or the color, or why you served THAT dish, or anything that lets the observer stand tall as having better eyes and taste than you do.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Love ya, Joe! – patrioticflip

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