Resistance to Stereotyping

Looking for empowering Filipino women’s images and stories in the internet is a real challenge. Coalition against Trafficking in Women— Asia Pacific (http://www.catw-ap.org/), an organization that fights sexual exploitation and promotes women’s human rights, notes in its website just how frustrating it can get to look for positive, empowering representations of Filipinas in cyberspace; representations where they have employed the same platforms (dating and travel websites) to project positive images of Filipinas who freely choose to engage foreign men for possible dates and hook-ups, fully aware of the dangers that accompany such activity.

It is thus notable that the website, http://www.travbuddy.com/ filipina-women-stereotypes-beware-v4436, warns potential visitors to the Philippines against stereotypes of Filipinas.22 It is supposedly written by a local Pinay—geek_goddess_Jolie—who has taken upon herself the task to “clarify” stereotypes not just about “Filipinas in particular but about Asian women in general.”

Filipinas, it goes, enjoy sexual equality with their male counterparts and are not at all viewed as second-class citizens. This equality is also evident in their pretty liberated manner of dressing, that is, they can practically wear whatever they want except in churches and similar venues where certain dress codes are imposed but not very strictly. Nonetheless, they can go about their business with no fear of being admonished or ridiculed. Moreover, “the red light districts” that foreigners are aware of, are hardly noticeable in the country especially in Manila with its towering buildings and densely populated areas. So, to regard all Filipinas as potential sex workers and that they prey on hapless foreigners is to engage in “stereotyping.”

 
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