At Large

Women versus Digong – again

You would think that with women in most other parts of the world rising in umbrage and declaring that they would no longer be victims of sexual predators, national leaders would be more careful about what they say and what they do.

After all, we have the parade of men in once-powerful positions being taken down and taken to task for their misdeeds, most especially for alleged sexual harassment, abusive behavior, if not outright rape — to serve as object lessons. But the rising number of malefactors exposed, shamed, sued and dismissed from their posts doesn’t seem to have had an impact on some stubborn exemplars of bad behavior.


Which brings us to our “Tatay” Digong. The President doesn’t seem to have learned anything from his series of gaffes that had women, not just in the Philippines, raising their eyebrows and howling in protest. But so often does he shoot off his mouth that his offensive statements no longer have the power to shock. Maybe that’s his game plan: to pile offense on offense until we become inured to the insults and end up accepting his jibes as just part of “who he is.”

And why would he change his ways or scrub out his dirty mouth (and mind) when people continue to laugh at his political incorrectness? Why would he keep his mouth in check when women continue to laugh and titter at his off-color jokes?


So, while powerful men seem to be leery of offending women in other parts of the world, the President of our sad Republic continues on his merry way. I don’t know if it’s just a pose, but he’s seemingly unaware of how his continued insults have left scars on those who hear themselves continually denigrated. Worse, his stubborn macho posing seems to have inspired copycat behavior and language among his male followers, who feel empowered to impose their own brand of machismo on the women in their own personal and social circles.

The latest example of the President’s offensive language — which reflects the grimy contents of his mind — was his statement made during a visit to India that if Muslim extremists are promised that they would go to heaven when they die and have “42 virgins waiting for you,” then he would like to make the promise of virgins a come-on for tourists to visit the Philippines.

At once, an old tourism poster used during the martial law years flashed in my mind. Beneath a photo of a comely Filipina, the blurb declared: “There’s more where she comes from.”

Talk about objectification—if not sexual exploitation!

Anyway, despite the seemingly prevailing public tolerance for his “jokes” directed at women, women are not keeping their peace and accepting the insults he offers.

Here’s a statement from #EveryWoman, a broad coalition of women from all walks of life, on P-Duts’ latest offensive “joke”:

“President Rodrigo Duterte, pimp par excellence, has peddled the ultimate fantasy of virgins galore to lure foreign tourists and businessmen to our islands. How pathetic for a President whose sales pitch is women’s bodies—their boobs, not their brains or brawn.


“In the Duterte equation, women = sex with virgins is the summum bonum. No wonder his obnoxious rape ‘jokes’ (about the dead Australian missionary, Miss Universe and as reward for battle-weary soldiers in Marawi) keep coming and coming.

“Women = power is his nightmare, hence the prolonged and unjust jailing of Sen. Leila de Lima, the booting out of Commission on Higher Education Chair Patricia Licuanan, the Malacañang-supported impeachment of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, the silencing of and verbal abuse against women who speak out against executive power gone mad.

“Digong Duterte, you cannot stand women who ooze power (and sex, too). Your vaunted leadership is flawed and you cannot represent us women. We have fought foreign and domestic tyranny for far too long in bloody colonial wars, in the halls of Congress, and at home. We have toppled tyrants alongside men who believe in sovereignty and equality.

“We have dignity and power. You, Digong, deny us these. That is why #EveryWoman rejects you as our President.”

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: 42 virgins, At Large, Rina Jimenez-David, Rodrigo Duterte, Sexism
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.