So after the political correctness and insensitivity police have savagely beaten up Congressman Manny Pacquiao (for comparing homosexuals to animals), it is now Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s turn to burn at the stake. A video recently surfaced showing Duterte crossing a line when he apparently joked about a rape and murder in 1989, commenting that the victim was beautiful and as mayor he “should have been first” when men took turns raping her. His remark has led to an uproar in the Philippines and around the world. Many critics have lambasted Duterte for being sexist. While I personally think that the remark was in poor taste, what I find amusing is that many Filipinos who in the past have touted political correctness and sensitivity continue to be avid supporters and defenders of this potty mouthed Mayor. They support and defend Duterte yet they were so quick to turn their backs on Manny Pacquiao. Are these people suggesting that women derogation is more acceptable than homophobia? Or is this PC thing really just a tool to express a phony outrage in support of a real agenda?
Let’s take the case of proud lesbian and LGBT rights advocate, celebrity Aiza Seguerra. You might remember her reaction to Manny Pacquiao’s ‘homophobic’ remark when she said:
“I am so fuckin’ mad I don’t know what to say. You might’ve done our country proud but with your statement, you just showed the whole country why we shouldn’t vote for you. And yes, I think you are an ignorant, bigoted hypocrite. You made me lose all respect that I had for you, Mr. Pacquiao.”
Now how come we don’t see the same level of outrage from her regarding Duterte’s distasteful sexist joke? Seguerra, in fact, is an avid supporter of Mayor Duterte. She is even willing to campaign for Duterte for free. If Seguerra were truly a champion of decency and respect for all human beings which includes LGBTs, wouldn’t it make sense for her to drop Duterte for an indecent and disrespectful remark against women and give Duterte the same vitriol she gave Pacquiao? Seguerra is not alone on this. Many folks who bashed Pacquiao are also avid Duterte supporters. There’s Jan Albert Suing and Liza Dino, to name a couple. Suing is a graduate student from the University of the Philippines who also works for a scientific research organization in the country. (So contrary to many people who think Duterte supporters are uneducated war-freaks, Suing is obviously an exception.) He wrote a very compelling article explaining his case for voting for Duterte in the Huffington Post. Suing also wrote an open letter in reaction to Pacquiao’s “hate on LGBT people” that was published at the Huffington Post. I don’t seem to see any articles from Suing recently on his castigation of Duterte’s “sexism”. Liza Dino appears to be silent too on scientifically educating Duterte on the seriousness of violence against women and lambasting the Mayor for trivializing rape. She didn’t seem to have any problems lecturing Pacquiao on his ‘scientific’ ignorance regarding homosexuality, how come she is not up in arms against Duterte’s sexism? Afterall, Duterte has been known to be a womanizer even before this ‘sexist’ joke YouTube video surfaced.
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It seems to me, for this case, that proponents of LGBT equality are hard on people they perceive as homophobes but not so much on people who are perceived to be offensive to other groups. I would wager that people who are adherents of, say, Islam would be more reactive (verbally and/or physically) against those perceived to be Islamophobes than homophobes. This is the problem with phony outrage! The outrage isn’t really about lack of political correctness or lack of decency or respect or any idealistic end. It really is about not getting their specific advocacies and agenda pushed. Here we see the hypocrisy of those who purport the importance of tolerance, sensitivity, equality, decency and political correctness. If you won’t consider the feelings of, say, LGBTs, then they’ll tell you to get lost and you better believe that the outrage would last as long as a case of untreated vaginal yeast infection.
Now going back to Duterte and his ‘sexist’ remark, I do not wish to trivialize sexism. This is indeed serious and terrible. But it might interest the readers to know that women prefer male bosses over female. Isn’t that ‘sexist’? But for some reason, I don’t seem to come across any outrage over this phenomenon. Sexism, homophobia, racism, etc., if we really want to stop them, must be tackled at its root rather than dwell on manufactured and phony outrage. Why do women (or feminist groups) feel so enraged over criticism or negative comments about women but not when similar criticism is directed at men? Why is there so much outrage over cases when women are hurt by men but almost nothing when it comes to women hurting men? I have seen a YouTube video that demonstrated this phenomenon – when a woman was being abused by a man people around were quick to defend the woman but when the scenario was reversed, no one came to defend the man. The video ended with a message that 40% of domestic violence is suffered by men and that violence is violence regardless of whether it was given by men or women. Doesn’t it make better sense to embrace the notion that the outrage on ‘sexism’ that we often hear is not about men being necessarily abusive to women or that women are always the victims of abuse by men – it is really the misguided belief that women are necessarily weaker. So really, doesn’t it make better sense to dwell on ignorance as the root of sexism or any other forms of discrimination like racism and homophobia and that we must educate the public to inform people better rather than to merely vilify the offenders and play the victim card?
So would I still consider voting for Duterte in spite of his sexist remarks? Absolutely! I, for one, do not believe that his lousy sense of humor or even his machismo – his seeming crass penchant for objectification of women, would be enough to discard his proven track record, competency, and political will to make meaningful and concrete changes the country badly needs. His potty mouth does not obliterate the fact that he has a well proven successful government executive experience that makes him worthy of another government executive position. His demeanor is not as refined as his other competitors but he has the most applicable experience to qualify for the job. (Other than VP Binay who, unfortunately, is beholden to the special interest groups that have wreaked havoc on the Philippines since 1986.)
So really, I don’t see Duterte’s ‘sexist’ remark to be gravely offensive. Sure it was in poor taste but not enough for me to throw him out to the dustbin. I suppose the perpetually offended feminists would label me as a ‘sexist’ too for giving Duterte a pass. That’s fine because I know that is not true. The truth is that I am not ‘sexist’ – some of my best wives are women! Okay now don’t tell me you didn’t find that funny.
(Image taken from ABS-CBN News)
Calling a spade, a spade…