By Patty Sue
Note: This post can also be found in Patty Sue’s blog, thenyannyanadventures
Hi! The male who drew me is a jerk (Image via cSlacker)
As an anthropology student, I have been exposed to a rich amount of literature which deals with gender issues especially those concerned with women empowerment and equal rights in society. In a culture where patriarchal manifestations are greatly felt, it is but appropriate and empowering for me at the same time to identify even in brief discourse the various institutions in society which create or reinforce unjustified gender roles and stereotypes to women.
The family is the most basic unit in society. In most cultures, just like ours, it is in the family where our deep socialization is deeply rooted. As the only daughter (and child) in my family, I have personally experienced situations wherein I am identified and defined because of my gender. My father who is quite the conservative one would often downplay my capacity to protect myself and would oftentimes reprimand me and confine me at home, even in school field trips. There are many underlying reasons as to why he does this and possibly one reason is because he wants to protect me. However, it is also in this context that I am degraded to nothing but someone who must be protected. My father would always say, “Babae ka. Hindi ko kaya proteksyonan sarili mo. Mahina ka.” These words would always have a great impact on me because I do not believe that I am merely defined by my biological characteristics.
Women- The Domesticated sphere of Economics
In a recent public presentation that my batch mates and I had in Naga, one interesting topic stood out in my classmate’s paper and it was the role of women as fisherman’s wives. I can’t but to reflect more on it because it has presented how women are clearly misconstrued and delegated to household chores and child rearing while the husband is the one who goes out and earn for the family through fishing. Being the Haligi ng tahanan would always undermine being theIlaw ng tahanan. It is in the connotations that most people attach to women as doing nothing but domesticated work or serving as alarm clocks for their husband and children that devalues women worth in the face of a capitalist society.
Media and its new forms namely the Internet and Visual media have had a great influence in reinforcing ideologies on gender. The picture above which I got from 9GAG.com, an entertaining and fun site which is becoming an internet phenomenon, would often display pictures like this of the adventures of Derp and Derpina and how Derp, being the male and all, makes use of sexist jokes on her girlfriend, Derpina all the time. Although I find these picture posts funny, there is also that hidden fear as to how sexist jokes are taken to the extreme as posts like this, “Make me a sandwich” gain several likes on Facebook and other social networking sites. Truly, media has helped reinforcing gender stereotypes and sometimes it does so in its sneaky, magic tricks and lures people into sensationalizing and disguising gender stereotypes in humor or satire, which can be eye-opening but personally more and more normal for society especially in a generation of youth where internet is the primary means of information and entertainment.
So how do we resist? Run the world, girls!
I may be identified as a feminist (not the extreme one though) because of a fairly amount of papers that I made in my years as an anthropology student. For me, there is really an existing gender inequality, not only between male and female but also among gays and lesbians in society. It is in this light that I propose that the greatest resistance one could even do is change the perceptions of gender roles and assignments and society. In a society where patriarchy is dominant, woman resisting should be able to prove that staying in home and taking care of the children is empowering rather than degrading, a girl like me should be able to go beyond my biological identity and will be able to defend herself (I enrolled in Elorde boxing class, by the way, much to my father’s disapproval) and characters such as Derpina must be able to fight back against Derp and his sexist jokes (or even play jokes on him too as sweet revenge).
Women should because women can.