Duterte setting dangerous double standard for women in public service
Vice President Leni Robredo was right to call out President Duterte over his recent sexist remarks.
He had the audacity to tell her in his presidential address to the nation: “Gabi-gabi, lumalakad, kanino ka umuuwi at kaninong bahay ka tumatagal?”
This is slut-shaming.
Slut-shaming is when a “woman is stigmatized for engaging in behavior judged to be promiscuous or sexually provocative.” Slut-shaming is used to alert a woman that she has stepped out of line. It stems from the notion that women belong in the bedroom and not in positions of power.
Usage: “Why are you so bossy? Slut.”
Men are admired for being assertive. But when a woman speaks out, she is considered a bitch, “epal,” “pakialamera”—exactly how Robredo was called, just for spearheading the Typhoon
“Ulysses” relief efforts.
How do you slut-shame? For one, you ask where a woman is going at night. You ask who she is sleeping with. And you make it the public’s business to know. You make this private detail, which is not ever asked of a man, an issue of her public character. Some Duterte supporters are already asking, without cause, “eh san nga ba umuuwi?” in a style reminiscent of the attacks on Sen. Leila de Lima, who they took down over an alleged affair with her driver and alleged sex tape.
This sets a dangerous double standard that the private lives of women in public service can be held up to public scrutiny in almost pornographic detail, as in De Lima’s case.
Mr. Duterte has portrayed women as objects: “Dapat mauna si Mayor,” like we’re a prize to be had. He believes that women don’t deserve to be in positions of power as women are weak, lowly. Mababa: Baba-eh. This is why it is especially painful when a woman shows you up and shows you your inadequacy. “If a girl beat you, then you must be especially bad” is the macho rallying cry, and machos are supposed to be the dominator, the “chingon,” never the f—ked.
Mr. Duterte has encapsulated what he thought of women when he addressed the military: “We will shoot you in the vagina… If there is no vagina, [they] would be useless.” This comes from the patriarchal logic that women are holes, and a woman is nothing without a man.
It’s no wonder why, in Mr. Duterte’s reign, male chauvinism, objectification of women, and rape are on the rise. There are studies that rape culture is fostered when men frequently gather together, as in fraternities, the military and police, creating a macho culture that makes violence against women okay and an
everyday reality. This is certainly the case here, where those in power feel entitled to insult, objectify, and attack women, as sanctioned by none other than the highest person in the land.
This is why I really, really don’t understand female Duterte supporters. Have they no respect for their sex?
Words or discourse, in this case, really turn into actual tangible violence, and for a long time, it has not been funny. The rape comments, the slut-shaming—they are not a joke. They are Freudian slips showing us the inner workings of a decrepit, chauvinist mind.
Why is there no collective outrage from Filipino women about what Mr. Duterte is doing and saying? Why there are still some women defending him is beyond me. And why do some men still not see how this kind of “rape climate” of woman-hating is hurting their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters?
Ateneo de Manila University
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