By William M. Esposo (The Philippine Star)
The Catholic Church in our country is so messed up that it cannot...
Disclaimer: Apologies to all the women in the world for the potentially misogynistic contexts that may emerge from my usage of the loaded term “warat” in this article.
Warat is a common Filipino expression often interchanged with “wasak.” It means “broken” or “destroyed” in English, but is also a slang word for “drunk and high on an assortment of drugs” or a devirginized girl.
“Warat” is also the title of a 90′s bold movie starring Joyce Jimenez.
My years of exposure to the devious underworld of 90′s bold movies — my exposure to videos of naked women — has supposedly corrupted my soul and turned me into a depressed adult who compulsively cries at night when recalling scenes from “Balahibong Pusa” and “Sutla.” These transient images carve themselves into memory, haunting men like naked sirens, beckoning them towards madness. 90’s soft-porn cinema: a truly great evil.
At least, that was what my values teacher told me about bold movies. Thankfully, although many hours of my youth were spent in isolation and many VHS and Betamax devices have malfunctioned after much fast-forwarding and rewinding, I still don’t have a corrupted soul.
The absence of the “artistic factor” was a common criticism tossed around by regulatory boards and “purists” alike to condemn the bold cinema trend of the 90’s. However, I’m not entirely sure what these people meant by “artistic.”
One of the most debated topics in aesthetics and censorship legislation is the nature of art. What is art? While a fair number of people are aware of the principles of art (balance, contrast, proportion), not many are aware of the standard “approaches” used to define what is artistic. Is a 90’s bold movie artistic? Is porn artistic?
Why “Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba?” is Art Reason #1: The Plot is Absurd but the Sex Looks Real (and/or Art as Imitation: Plato and Mimesis)
“All artistic creation is a form of imitation.” – Plato
One of the earliest approaches to art was by Plato. Plato believed that the primary element in determining artistic quality is mimesis or an artist’s ability to mimic or re-produce reality. In other words, an artwork’s realism is what defines its artistic quality.
By this standard then, the bold movies of the 90’s are definitely inferior to “Jersey Shore,” Hayden Kho, and contemporary amateur porn. But via the same standard, in terms of realism, “Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba?” is actually more artistic than any movie that implies that Carla Abellana could actually be attracted to Jorge Estregan Jr.
Why “Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba?” is Art Reason #2: The Audience Gets Aroused (and/or Art as Expression: Tolstoy and Authenticity)
“Works of art so often arise from some deep personal feeling or crisis in the lives of their creators that emotion itself is commonly taken as the defining characteristic of art.” – Leo Tolstoy
Art is not art unless it is able to transfer raw emotions. According to Leo Tolstoy, an artist’s ability to make the audience feel what he feels should be the standard of art. This premise, however, postulates that artistic intention and audience reaction is the highest standard of artistic quality.
If a poem about something sad was written in a way that makes a reader sad too, then by this standard, it is art. If a scene exhibiting sexually aroused individuals makes the audience aroused too, it is artistic. With regard to “Warat: Bibigay Ka Ba?,” when Joyce Jimenez was moaning and writhing to express her sexual arousal while she was having make-believe intercourse with an actor, many viewers were also sexually aroused. Needless to say, the scene was successful because it seemed authentic enough to generate an authentic response.
Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.
by Ron de Vera
The sexuality of Supreme Court Spokesperson Midas Marquez has become the topic of debates when a video of him addressing the press went viral yesterday.
In the video, Marquez is seen reacting to a microphone falling off the podium. In less than 24 hours, the video has been shared more than 11,000 times on Facebook and has had more than 12,000 views and more than 100 comments on YouTube.
Here is an overview of how YouTube users have reacted to the video as of writing:
1. Yes, he is definitely gay – 28% (38/136)
2. I don’t care, this is funny – 27% (37/136)
3. Flagged as spam/removed – 18% (24/136)
4. No, this does not make him gay – 7% (9/136)
5. It doesn’t matter, he’s doing his job well – 5% (7/136)
6. Please think about the welfare of his children – 4% (6/136)
7. Yes, he is gay, and that is a pity because he is handsome – 4% (5/136)
8. Yes, he is gay, but it’s okay, he’s doing his job well – 4% (5/136)
9. I don’t care, he’s hot – 3% (4/136)
10. So what if he’s gay? – 1% (1/136)
(Data based on a total of 136 comments. Unrelated comments were not included)
What is worth mentioning is that some of the homophobic comments (both on YouTube and Facebook) were actually made by some people who self-identify as LGBT activists. Granted that LGBT activism in the Philippines has come a long way, such homophobic remarks are indicative of the level of maturity of this movement.
In the lecture “What’s Wrong and What’s Right with Contemporary Feminism?” Philosophy Professor Christina Hoff Sommers makes a distinction between equity feminism and “gender feminism” calling the latter, “victim feminism.” She describes Equity Feminism as the classical liberalism that inspired the First Wave of feminism in the 19th century. What she refers to as “victim feminism” is, according to her, the type of feminism that adheres to the sex/gender system and defines it as a “complex process whereby bi-sexual infants are transformed into male and female gender personalities, the one destined to command, the other to obey.”
She does not agree with the latter view and even complains that, “The dominant philosophy of today’s women’s movement is not equity feminism–but “victim feminism.”
According to her, “Victim feminists don’t want to hear about the ways in which women have succeeded. They want to focus on and often invent new ways and perspectives in which women can be regarded as oppressed and subordinated to men.”
Ms. Sommers connects the “gender feminist” perspective with how Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues was written. She says, “What I want to point out to you is the play’s deeper gender feminist message. It is all about exposing the ravages of patriarchy and the evils of all things masculine. The play is poisonously anti-male. There are no admirable males in the Monologues–-the play presents a rogues’ gallery of male brutes, sadists, child-molesters, genital mutilators, gang rapists and hateful little boys.”
She criticizes both the play and gender feminism saying, “Here is the problem with the play and with the gender feminist philosophy that informs it: Most men are not brutes. They are not oppressors. Yes, there are some contemptible Neanderthals among us, and I have no sympathy for them whatsoever. But to confuse them with the ethical majority of men is blatantly sexist. Yet again and again, we find that contemporary feminists take the worst case example of pathological masculinity and treat it as the male norm.”
Equal Rights or Special Rights?
The SlutWalk movement, in my opinion, is an extension of what Ms. Sommers called “victim feminism.” I’m sure, by now, you’ve heard about SlutWalks since a few articles on it have been written by several of my colleagues. It’s this movement which is supposed to deconstruct patriarchy’s negative caricature stereotype of sexually liberal, sex-positive women (since patriarchy, allegedly, implies that only prostitutes can enjoy sex with multiple-partners) but ends up reinforcing it by walking the streets dressed up like, well, prostitutes – thereby inadvertently isolating the idea of “a woman who enjoys sexual freedom” with the image of – provocative clothing.
Some would argue that these provocative clothes are worn as costumes to make fun of the patriarchal stereotype. But at the end of the day it’s called a SlutWalk; it’s a pride march for a sexually liberated lifestyle and a sexually liberated identity and even in jest, the association between sexualized images and sexual liberty might imply that only women who have the audacity to dress like this enjoy sex.
Personally, I have nothing against women who dress provocatively. Ultimately, women are supposed to be able to wear what they want. In fact, it is completely legal for women to wear what they want. There is no law which prevents women from wearing revealing clothing. My problem with the SlutWalk is that these women want a privilege or an assurance that extends beyond legal permission.
There’s a claim that women should not be judged for what they wear, and that people should not respond negatively (by calling them sluts) or respond positively (by approaching them, or staring at them at length [I think the exact term was “to ogle”], or by whistling) to what they wear. In other words, they want to be able to wear what they want, without you being able to say what you want about what they wear. They are, in my opinion, asking for “special” rights, not equal rights.
According to Brendan O’Neill, in his article, “These are the most anti-social sluts on earth,” “The SlutWalk organiser says that one of the ‘main messages’ of her campaign is that ‘a woman’s appearance is not a sexual invitation’. But it is. When women wear revealing gear in a pub or a nightclub, they are definitely issuing a sexual invitation. And why shouldn’t they? They want to pull, get off, cop off or whatever the crazy kids call it these days. It is part and parcel of the perfectly normal, perfectly healthy interaction of the sexes that women dress attractively and men respond in kind, by making a comment, offering to buy a drink, attempting one of those apparently criminal come-ons.”
Prostitution and Rape
SlutWalks claim that there is no correlation between sexy clothing and rape. Research proves that there isn’t, so I have to agree. There is no proven correlation between sexy clothing and rape, but how about sexy clothing and cat calls? How about plunging necklines and ogles? How about promiscuity and rape?
Read the full article on the Filipino Freethinkers website.
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Like many feminist psychologists, I wonder why Freud was so fascinated by the tale of Oedipus that it became the predominant metaphor of his theory of psycho-sexual development. To make a Greek tragedy short, Oedipus unknowingly took his mother as wife. Upon learning this, Oedipus suffered from such guilt and remorse, that he blinded himself.
There are less male-centric stories from the Greek classics about sexuality and innocence that Freud could/should have considered. At the very least it would have balanced his theories of sexual development and women would not have had to suffer decades of damaging psychotherapeutic advice.
For example there is the myth of Demeter and Persephone. A myth I prefer for reasons I shall explain shortly.
Demeter is the goddess of the earth, agriculture, growing. Her daughter is Persephone. Persephone was kidnapped by the god of the underworld, Hades. It is a classic case of kidnap-rape. Having lost her daughter, Demeter grieves. The earth turns barren and cold.
Soon the other gods must intervene. In the end, despite having eaten of the pomegranate fruit that condemns her to the underworld, Persephone is released by Hades to go home to Demeter for half of each year. Upon her return, Demeter rejoices, sunlight and warmth return, things begin to grow again, the flowers bloom and the world sings. It is a return to joy, where the earth is able to bring forth that which will nourish itself and humankind.
Patriarchal elements aside (personally I would have preferred that Hades be condemned to prison, but he is after all, already in the Underworld), the story has tremendous value as a metaphor for an egalitarian sexuality that would liberate men and women from the pathology of current heterosexist and patriarchal disillusions.
Read the full article at the Filipino Freethinkers website.
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