What Pinoys Get Wrong About Rights: Dehumanization In The Media


Ever since the EDSA Revolution, the Philippines and its people has always been proud to be supportive of the “human rights” movement. Since then, Filipinos came to view the Marcos regime and Marcos’ disciplinarian and authoritative mindset as tyrannical and evil. They vilified all his works and sought to bring down everything Marcos had established during his reign. They called out his harsh treatment of criminals as “inhumane” and the Aquino regime sought to establish peace treaties with some of the less savory elements of the country.

Unfortunately, while so many Filipinos seem to believe that the Philippines is a country with morals and are strict observers of human rights, I need to ask, are they really? Okay, so why am I asking this?

paparazziWell, I once wrote a previous article about bullying in the Philippines and why so many people seem to be okay with it even if there is nothing positive or even normal about what’s going on. The thing is, while we may claim to be supporters of “human rights”, do we really fully understand what they entail? Do we really, as a people, understand what it means to be humane towards our fellow man? Well I, for one, am a bit doubtful on the idea considering what the media likes to show people.

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Looking for examples? Well, look no further:

The Impoverished Masses

Being poor sucks, any real poor person who’s worth his/her salt will tell you that. Of course, both the media and the fundamentalists will tell you that being poor is great because God likes you more than his dumb rich kids because you’re innocent and blameless. Being poor means your blessed and therefore you’ll have a great reward for you waiting in heaven and the list goes on and on.

Unfortunately, if you make the mistake of watching game shows and common teleseryes, you will see just how the media beats down on these people. In game shows alone, people are made to act like idiots and humiliate themselves all for a measly amount of money. They make the needy poor into clowns and force them to act like dumb characters in a deranged stage play written by a tormented soul in Hell. To make matters worse, the hosts even join in on the action and humiliation sometimes dangling money in front of contestants who are desperate to have even just a little money. The hosts act like animal tamers with the impoverished participants being forced to behave like their tamed animals all the while lambasting them with derogatory comments and humiliating them further. While many Filipinos seem to see this as “normal”, I see it as a scene straight out of Hell with the hosts fulfilling the role of demons whose duty it is to torment their less fortunate participants for the sin of being “poor”.

The media go so far as to call what they do “positive encouragement”. But really, is there anything “positive” in what they’re doing. All I see is them telling the poor people something like: “If you want easy money, just come over to our studio and let us humiliate you so we’ll give you money.” When I look at the various hosts treating their participants like animals in a pet show while humiliating them with quips that they think is funny, I wonder just how desperate these people are to allow themselves to be treated in such a manner.

Unattractive People

I’ve already written in my previous articles just how people with unattractive traits are openly bashed by the media. More often than not, it can be anything from having dark skin, being bald, having uneven teeth, being short or having a funny hairdo. Whatever the case, as long as you somehow look different, expect so-called “comedians” to make fun of you.

As I’ve already said, we can’t expect everyone to look like firecrackers. We can’t all look like Coco Martin and Angel Locsin. But then, why do unattractive people need to be dehumanized for our entertainment? Are we so beautiful that we have a right to openly demoralize people who just happen to not look as good as we do? Why do we need to treat people who look different as laughing stocks?

Now it’s bad enough that people who are less attractive than average are made fun of but the way the media does is even worse. An actor or actress who is deemed unattractive will almost always be automatically categorized in the “comedy” genre of films. Don’t filmmakers and other actors and actresses ever wonder what life would be like for them were they somehow born with defects or were somehow unattractive as well. What’s even worse is that most of the hosts on these shows causing the humiliation aren’t really all that attractive themselves.

Look, there’s a reason why clowns wear make-up and it’s not just because they want to look funny or because they want to scare you. The make-up hides their true faces so that in real-life, they will appear to be just another average person. Gutter comedy in comedy bars are okay but I’m of the opinion that it should stay inside comedy bars. Gutter comedy is not for children and I don’t really think it’s a good idea to put it on live TV where remorseless “comedians” can mercilessly degrade people because of their looks.


I already mentioned in some previous articles how this country unknowingly maltreats its own children. Both Dumangsil and ChinoF mentioned just how cruel we really are to our children even though the media tries to expound the fact that we are a “child-friendly” nation.

Yes, I know that Wow Wow Wee has been gone now for quite some time. However, it seems that its themes continues to endure until today. Shows continue to show children being made fun of and being treated as nothing more than a means to entertain adults. What’s worse is that a lot of parents even encourage their children to allow themselves to be abused this way. They are taught to sing and dance (sometimes in a lewd way) to entertain people. Girls watch shows where scantily clad women dance sexily and are encouraged by unsavory parents to imitate them. Negligent parents allow their boys to be felt up by gay show hosts, behaving as if there is nothing wrong with this.

So really, if we are aware of “human rights”, why do we continue to degrade and humiliate people on live TV. Why must we subject hapless citizens to the dehumanization that the media puts them through? Is it because we enjoy watching people suffer? Are we all secretly sadists who desire pain and misery upon our fellows?

These are questions we should be asking ourselves if we want to continue claiming that we are a “humane” nation…


19 Replies to “What Pinoys Get Wrong About Rights: Dehumanization In The Media”

  1. void the illegal yellow constitution and let the pilipinos amend a new one this time. the 87 constitution is not amended by the people.

  2. The poor, ugly, and children are abused. You missed a couple more, like the elderly, the sick, and women. What you mentioned happens to almost every country on the planet. Of course we must champion the rights of the oppressed but let us keep things in perspective as we are not the only ones.

    1. @Ponse:

      1. The Golden Rationalization, or “Everybody does it”

      This rationalization has been used to excuse ethical misconduct since the beginning of civilization. It is based on the flawed assumption that the ethical nature of an act is somehow improved by the number of people who do it, and if “everybody does it,” then it is implicitly all right for you to do it as well: cheat on tests, commit adultery, lie under oath, use illegal drugs, persecute Jews, lynch blacks. Of course, people who use this “reasoning” usually don’t believe that what they are doing is right because “everybody does it.” They usually are arguing that they shouldn’t be singled out for condemnation if “everybody else” isn’t.


    1. Third option (switch to educational programs on cable)
      Fourth option (turn off the idiot box)
      Fifth option (same as Fourth, but instead use the time meant for the boob tube for more productive activities)

      The list goes on and on… But hey, this is Da Pinoy we are talking about, so all other choices except Slowtime and Eat Bulate would be invalid anyway.

  3. If I was president (or even a congressman), I wouldn’t allow any of this.

    – Why don’t I just run for office instead of just sitting around criticizing the government and society???

    Believe me, I would. I’ll make this my platform. Alternatively, if anyone from government is listening, make me MTRCB chairman.

  4. Remember when the Show of Revillame, Woowoowee…there was a stampede, to get in the show. There were deaths, among the people, who want to get in the show. For a few Pesos of Prize Money.

    This is how low these shows have gone…they have gone to the gutter. People now act like Hacienda Luista Swines, being FED with just a few pesos of Prize money.

    Instead of working for an honest living…it is easier to get rich quick with those Prize money..

  5. Mass Media in the PI is bullshit. I have yet to see a network show that does not make people act like clowns for cash, or make them recount painful memories on tv for tears.

    And we should stop making fun of people who’re not exactly the apple of our eyes, because for all we know, we may as well be onions to everyone’s eyes.

  6. A few ideas about “rights” from my article about flaunting wealth:

    “When people have the right to something, what makes it a right is not that you can do it, but it is right to do. Being able to do something doesn’t make it a right. It’s just permissible. But just because it’s permissible doesn’t make it right, or to use the Bible’s words on it, beneficial. A right is something that is right and beneficial.”

    Sadly, the “rights” that mass media is encouraging seems to be more of that, they can do what they want even if they hurt others. Because, certainly, if one’s mindset is to assert class dominance over another, that will more than likely involve hurting others without remorse.

  7. I’m one with the writer in his observation on the crassness and crudity that we see on TV, particularly on game/variety/noontime shows. While the writer did not specifically name names, we, more or less, have an idea who the guilty ones are.

    While all of us agree that it is wrong I’m not sure if we are on the same page with regard to what category does it fall as a social issue. I think it is outside the boundary of human rights. Since it involves propriety and decency matter, I see it as a censorship issue. It is an issue which falls on the door step of the MTRCB (Movie and Television Review and Classification Board).

    On the MTRCB mandate, the paragraph below, which I quote exactly covers what the articles was talking about.

    • Promote and protect the family, the youth, the disabled, and other vulnerable sectors of society in the context of media and entertainment.

    Unfortunately, the MTRCB is under the jurisdiction of the Office of the President. Hence, it is PNoy, at least on this blog, who is at the crosshair again. But seriously, the MTRCB chairman has the direct responsibility on the subject matter.

  8. You know what I noticed?

    Ang mga Filipinos ang lalakas manglait, akala mo kung sinong gwapo at magaganda pero yung mga nanglalait ng kapwa, sila mismo hindi rin naman kagandahan. Ang napapansin ko, ang mga Filipino ayaw nilang SILA ang nilalait ng iba pero okay lang sa kanila ang magsalita ng mga masasama. Mga balat sibuyas. Diba nga sabi nila, ang pikon, laging talo. So, ibig sabihin, PALAGI tayong TALO.

    Maybe Filipinos want to hurt someone before that other person has a chance to hurt them.

    1. I forgot to add, go to a Filipino forum or go to a Filipino blog called Fashion Pulis. See thousands upon thousands of comments where they either worship a celebrity and put them on a pedestal or bash that celebrity to death. Majority of the commentators tend to be soooo judgmental.

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