A colleague from college furiously accused me for being 'lewd' after I commented on a friend's photo that includes her. I commented on the photo, making fun of her "big breasts, so heavy they cause her head to tilt on the side," something which we have often done back in college. You know how it is between friend groups. You make fun of one another.
But not this time. She got angry and called my comment lewd, even threatening to punch me in the face because I f*cking deserve it.
Wondering why the sudden change of attitude, I checked out her profile only to learn she began taking post-graduate women's studies after graduating from college, and other elements in her profile send me the signal that she has extremely embraced feminism—an ideology I happen to embrace as well ever since my Gender in Lit and Rizal class under a personal idol, Albina Peczon Fernandez. Yes, I'm a feminist even if I'm a guy, and my cultural ideology draws much inspiration from feminism.
But you know how it is when you have a new ideology. You're in heat. And I don't mean sexually. You're too obsessed with your newfound principles, you begin thinking the world is fucking you up and that every politically incorrect person should be stoned to death.
When I was a newbie in the Kapampangan cultural struggle, I flamed Kapampangans who kept on speaking Tagalog despite both of us being Kapampangans, and reprimanded harshly those who insist on calling Kapampangan a dialect instead of language. I also refused to borrow Tagalog, Spanish, and English words in my Kapampangan writing...
These I did proudly in the name of Indung Kapampangan, only to realize later on it's not really the best way to accomplish the advocacy. Anatagonizing the very people you want to change won't contribute anything to the advocacy. (I prefer to penetrate ISAs nowadays, or Ideological State Apparatuses, to propagate my ideology; you have to study some Marxism and Neo-Marxism to know what ISAs and RSAs are).
Yes, I'm a feminist. My close friends would know. I don't play gentleman around women, like offering to carry their books, because I don't want to perpetuate the perception that women are weak.
When I was telling through YM the sister of a friend that I am becoming depressed and lonely, she told me that she thinks I just need a girlfriend. I told her I am not that kind of guy. I don't form intimate relationships with women, or anyone for that matter, just to cure my boredom. I am not a fan of objectification even though I am surrounded by close male friends here in Pampanga who love to objectify women.
Never mind that society might think I'm gay for treating women equally with the other gender.
My feminist views are also represented in a lot of my artworks, and from here on in, I'll share a couple of them to you.
First, Kalam, the Kapampangan TV drama. As writer, I made sure the lead female protagonist in Kalam is a feminist. As I described her in press release: "Dette, the smart, wealthy, and feminist photographer/filmmaker who can see supernatural entities (lagayan) through the camera lens."
Notice this scene in the second episode, where Dette is revealed for the first time in the story.
For people who can't understand Kapampangan, basically, the Nursing dude is expressing his nervous feelings, when Dette casually responds, "Ngayon pa umatras ang bayag mo kung kailan nandito na tayo." The guy then remarks that Dette shouldn't be mentioning such things because it's very improper for girls. Pissed, Dette reprimands Yubs for the double standard.
The opening of the third episode reveals more feminism. See an excerpt of the script:
DETTE foresees a lengthy discussion so she sets aside the papers she is reading. She takes one gulp from her drink (not using the straw) to lubricate her throat for the lengthy conversation she prophesies to transpire.I also have this Kapampangan poem in my collection:
Nanu para keka ing kabaldugan ning Peminismu? [What for you is the meaning of Feminism?]
Itang paniwalang mas masikan la reng ba’bai karing la’lake? [The belief that women are stronger than men?]
Nung radikal kang peminista, makanita pin. Oneng dakal ya kasi sanga ing Peminismu. Ating mu ring ma’niwalang andyang e ya pareu talaga ing babai ampo ing lalaki, dapat pante ing opportunity da kareng miyayaliwang obra. Nung nanung karapatan atin ya ing lalaki, atin ke mu rin dapat. [If you're a radical feminist, you are correct. But there are some who believe that even though men are women are not equal, opportunities should be equal in employment. The rights of men should also be enjoyed by women.]
Na’ng kaugnayan na nita keng buri kung malyari kareng ating Kalam? [So how is that connected with my advocacy on the gifted ones?]
Ing pilosopiya ning Peminismu, Yubs, e ya mu para kareng ba’bai. Para ya kareng eganaganang marginalized a bisang mitas estadu keng sosyedad. [The philosophy of Feminism, Yubs, is not just for the sake of women. It can be used by anyone marginalized, wanting to empower their status in society.]
Keti king balen atin kung kilalang bábai
Atlu la dapot ali la para-para klasi
Ding piulian da rening atlu mikakawani
Miyayaliwa ing ugne ra karing lálaki
Here in this town I know women / three women, but they belong to different types / They come home separately / they relate to men differently
Ing mumunang babai ing kayang lagyu Norma
Kanita linuban ning lalaki ing bale na
Kayi kaibat ning siam a bulan kabirabira
Anak ing akit mung mamialung king kayang mula
The first woman is called Norma / whose house was penetrated by a man in the past / after nine months suddenly / one would see kids playing in her garden
Kadua naman Magda ing kekatamung iyaus
Dakal lang lalaki ring king bale na tataglus
At bista man e la maluat mágdatun ding diablus
Máging yang mabandi ing makisusung matilus
The second one is to be called Magda / who lives in a house where many men proceed / and even though the devils don't stay long / the pointy-breasted lady becomes wealthy by the minute
Tauli karening bábai Felicia ya lagyu
Ding kasabi na mung lálaki ring ortelanu
Nung ali no man tuburan dinan no mung sueldu
Ding ának a mámialung kilual inampun no mu
Last in the list is a woman named Felicia / The only men in her life are the farmers / Whom she orders around and pays / The children playing outside were just adopted
Deti ring ámanuan kung atlung klasing bábai
Makiyantak ngan oneng miyayaliwa bili
E la miyayalas pangaratang king lálaki
O Kababainan, kenu biye ing kapad mung dili
These are the women I said belonged to three types / they had vaginas but they vary in condition / they are not homogeneous when it comes to men / O, womankind, whose life do you want to take on
For those who don't get the poem: This is a poem about three women with varying relationships with men. Norma leads the typical housewife life. Magda's survival and economic progress are rooted on offering her sexual service to men. Felicia, the wealthy and powerful one, uses the wealth she has acquired to preserve her superiority over her male servants and escape being chained to a man by adopting a child, i.e., "procreation" using wealth alone.
Then, in my English poem "The Art of Collapse," I have this feminist stanza:
I see not a boy
I see not a girl
But a human being
A lot of my stories, when involving family setups, are often matriarchal, too. Three stories currently on the works also tackle women's place in society.
I also sympathize with the social stigma attached to the loss of virginity by women, and this theme I explored in my second music video, Alang Anggang Sugat (The Eternal Wound).
Another poem in my poetry collection about an innocent girl taken advantage of:
Ket Na Ning Asu
Bite Of A Dog. This poem illustrates how young girls are sexually taken advantage of due to their sexual ignorance as reinforced by the social institutions, especially the family.
Dona, alang balu
King yatu, king yatu
Meniglo king asu
King banyu, king banyu
Dona, so innocent / about the world, about the world / Amazed by the dog / in the bathroom, in the bathroom
Kilub na ning ulap
Bala na paninap
Dona, so quick / to peek, to peek / through the fog / she thought it was a dream
Kitnan ing indu na
Nung nanu’ng ikit na
King banyu ra keta
Dona, wearing a skirt / asked her mother / what she saw / in the bathroom
Dona described / what she saw / It dangled / but stood up sometimes
Dona, abalu na
Ing abatiawan na
Ngana ning indu na
Siguru asu ya
Dona found out / that what she saw / is according to her mother / probably a dog
Migkera king kuartu
Linub ya ing asu
Kinet ne king salu
Dona, so drowsy / went in her room / The dog entered / and bit her chest
Ala neng agawa
Dona, lying down / unable to make a sound / saliva fell down on her / she was helpless
E man minyukle buak
Salbag salbag utak
Dona, the next morning / didn't comb her hair / looking messed up / and groggy
King yatu, king yatu
Keplasan ya kanu
King ket na ning asu
Dona knew something / about the world, about the world / She found it painful / the bite of a dog
So to my feminist friend who accused me for being lewd, please. In the first place, I didn't objectify you. Yes, I said you have big breasts (not to humiliate you, basically, but just for the sake of college tuksuan nostalgia), but it doesn't mean I lust over them. If that is your way of expressing your feminism, it doesn't look very impressive.