Step back from the political chatter of social media for a moment and ask yourself: Are the “issues” being backed by the loudest, shrillest voices at the moment the most important ones? To answer that question we need first to define the term “important” in this context.
What is important to the average Filipino?
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The “average Filipino” is not a very complicated conceptual construct — that is, if you actually take the time to look over the wall of your gated subdivision or over the rim of the latte you may be sipping at the local Starbucks. The average Filipino lives life on a day-to-day basis. And all the average Filipino really needs to know on a daily basis is when and if she will arrive at work today, if tomorrow is a payday, whether or not she will arrive home in one piece at the end of the day, and how she will be paying for her next mobile phone load.
That’s, on the average. Evidently, this too makes me guilty of being selective in my sampling as the profile I painted above mirrors more the average and more visible Filipino city slicker and probably leaves out more wretched folk in the countryside’s hinterlands and those clinging to life along the banks of Manila’s stinking esteros. My point is, it may indeed be true that social media makes us unconsciously retreat more and more into a filter bubble.
Indeed, at the risk of coming across as sexist, an unscientific sampling of the Philippines’ “politically-passionate” social media landscape (based on my own personal experience on Twitter) potentially leads one to conclude that the noisiest, shrillest, and most emotionally-charged voices come predominantly from female liberals. This is interesting considering a recently-published study on American Netizens that yielded results seemingly consistent with this. The report shows that female Democrats are more likely to respond emotionally when they come across ideas that run counter to their personal beliefs and express this distress by blocking users who publish these ideas on social media.
The study shows [America’s left/liberal-leaning] Democrats were almost three times more likely than Republicans (24% vs. 9%) to have unfriended someone after the election. A similar disparity turned up for self-identified liberals versus conservatives (28% vs. 8%). Meanwhile, only 9% of independents reportedly booted someone out of their online social circles because of politics.
This predisposition to block dissenting views can readily be observed too in the Philippines’ social media “influencers” where women identified with the liberal Opposition (and certain men with woman-like characteristics) tend to be the ones who are most likely to block people who challenge their ideas rather than engage them. The figures yielded by that American study show the stark difference as well.
As this graphic shows, the survey also identified “Democratic women” as the most likely of all groups to block someone on social media…
This is likely the reason why feminist concepts have seemingly been turned into an ammo belt of silver bullets against the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. The arguments behind them are backed by emotionalism and are fired by people who have cocooned themselves within the Internet’s increasingly notorious filter bubbles. These people, it seems, are primarily shrill emotional women (and, shall we say, woman-like men) who identify as liberals.
So the biggest point to reflect on can be framed in these rather confronting questions:
(1) Would you trust people who live in filter bubbles and are intolerant of dissent?
(2) Considering that female liberals are more likely to fit the above profile, will you continue to trust the loud, shrill women of the Philippine Opposition?
Think about it. Perhaps this is the reason why the Philippine Opposition is seemingly in an irreversible slide to irrelevance — because they continue to allow themselves to be led by these shrill emotional women.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.