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Sexism alive and kicking

12:08 AM May 09, 2017

The recent exchange between Sen. Tito Sotto and Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo at her confirmation hearing awakened me to the fact that sexism is still rampant even in the 21st century.

I have heavy doubts that the exchange would have taken the same route if the senator were speaking to a fellow male. So are we now to consider every single mother as “na-ano lang,” and degrade their capability of holding office purely on the basis that they are female with children but without a husband? What would Sotto have said if he were questioning a male with children but without a wife? Would he consider him responsible and an excellent father instead of berating him for not being able to find a wife to raise his kids with?

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Because if I were to base from the exact words that came out of the senator’s mouth, these are the things that he was implying.

It’s also highly hypocritical for the senator to view Taguiwalo, a single parent of two daughters, as “na-ano lang” when
in fact his daughter, Ciara, who separated from her husband last year, is also a single parent! Would he say his daughter was “na-ano lang”? I don’t think so. But he managed to brand every single parent that are women in that way, anyway, so he doesn’t need to anymore.

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What’s even more alarming is that Sotto had the audacity to hint at rape when his brother, Vic Sotto, together with Joey de Leon and Richie Reyes, were implicated in the Pepsi Paloma rape controversy years ago. As the general public already knows, Paloma’s rape case is connected by many to the song “Spolarium” by the Eraserheads. The three perpetrators allegedly drugged Paloma (who was 14 years old at the time) and engaged in gang rape. This makes them alleged pedophile rapists.

This troubling occurrence has managed to shine a light on the much ignored fact that sexism is still very much present in this day and age. Many of us might want to ignore the ugly truth, but it’s always in the wings, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

I was specially roused by this issue, having grown up as a fervent feminist. I’ve known and believed with all my heart in my 16 years of stay so far on Earth that saying men are superior to women is simply absurd and a medieval way of thinking.

The conduct in which Senator Sotto conducted his questioning says a lot about how he truly views women, and specially those who are single and have children.

Will we continue to tolerate sexist behavior like this? How long will we let misogynistic people impose on us their thoughts and beliefs that have no place in the 21st century? Will we buy into the notion that women are nothing but sex objects? Because as far as the list of the Top 10 latest bar passers are concerned, that is certainly not the case.

So let’s be vigilant and speak out against any sexist behavior. Because unfortunately, sexism is still alive and kicking.

Enzo Miguel Malonzo De Borja, 16, is in Grade 11 at Pasig Catholic College.

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TAGS: Judy Taguiwalo, Sen. Tito Sotto, Sexism
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