The rebranding of the Yellowtard cause around the colour pink represents a massive misreading of the pulse and character of the Filipino people. For so long, the Opposition led by the Yellowtards (the bloc of partisans within it rabidly-loyal to the Aquino-Cojuangco clan) expressed bafflement over the continued popularity of incumbent Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Unfortunately for them, that vexation had not translated to curiosity and that curiosity into actionable insight that serves their “cause”.
The fact is, Filipino culture remains a culture of machismo. Ana P. Santos, in her June 2018 piece “The Price of ‘Machismo Populism’ in the Philippines” for The Atlantic, describes “a sexist strain that has long festered just beneath the surface” of “polite” Philippine society that Duterte taps to sustain his popularity. Santos further observes…
Male action stars popularized in Philippines’ cinema and telenovelas who save the day seemingly using nothing more than braggadocio, and noontime variety shows where scantily clad women dance and male hosts flirt with them, glorify machismo and normalize sexist behavior.
Indeed, this makes the Yellowtards’ cozy relationship with Big Corporate Media even more interesting when one considers the hundreds of millions of pesos in profits these media companies have made on the back of low-cost productions that regurgitate action star and kalaswaan tropes that keep Filipino audiences hooked. This does not include the mind-numbing noontime variety shows that made stars of the likes of Vice Ganda, Maine Mendoza, the Tito-Vic-and-Joey trio, and Kris Aquino. Right in the ingrained mediocrity and exploitation culture of Big Media and the symbiotic relationship the Yellowtards maintain with their oligarchs shareholders and the celebrities whose careers they prop up lies the profound hypocrisy of this disente camp.
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More important, however, is the curious fact that Yellowtardom’s “thought leaders” and campaign strategists had all but failed to apply the marketing wisdom of their media henchwomen to their own desperate campaign to seize power legally as the 2022 national elections approach. The pink ribbon that presumptive leader of the Philippines’ “United Opposition” sports nowadays presumably represents the plight of the country’s “victimised” women consistent to the context Santos paints in her Atlantic piece. Indeed, they go as far as suggesting that Filipinos today suffer a form of “battered wife” syndrome. In his Inquirer piece “The will to fight back”, Professor Randy David writes of “why [‘vice president’ Leni Robredo is] running for president and why the nation desperately needs someone like her at this time.”
The metaphor she employs references the complex situation of countless victims of domestic violence. Without saying so explicitly, she likens the Filipino public’s forbearance with Mr. Duterte’s incompetent and violent presidency to the deep ambivalence that women experience when the men they chose to love and raise a family with turned out to be dissolute tyrants. They continue to love their abusers, offer excuses for their repugnant behavior, and hang on to every little sign that they are at heart good persons.
Under this light, it becomes easy to see why the Yellowtard campaign is underpinned by an ill-thought-out strategy that dooms it to failure.
First of all, the Feminist Card at play in the branding of the Opposition bid targets only half of the voting population — women. Second, of that female population, only a minority set would consist of members who would consider themselves in abusive relationships. The Union of Catholic Asian News reports that only “one in four Filipino women aged 15-49 has experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse by their partner or husband.” On this back-of-an-envelope reckoning alone, could be gleaned that Robredo’s ill-fated campaign would directly resonate with less than 13 percent (one fourth of the female vote) of qualified Filipino voters. That is a clear set up for failure.
This is the whole trouble with the elitist mindset of Yellowtardom that was forged over years of shrill chatter within their echo chambers and chi chi private-school-along-Katipunan-Road conferences and forums. They have come to regard Philippine society through the yellow- (and now pink-) tinted lens of Western European and coastal North American woke culture where every fluidity, equality, and other nebulous gender-prefixed notion, when shouted out, serve as calls to “activist” action (or prayer).
It really comes down to what pink actually means to the Filipino. Has there ever been anything in Filipino culture that was symbolised by this colour? No? Why pink then? It seems the Yellowtards and the broader Philippine Opposition that they infest are in the midst of an appeal to voters that seeks to espouse anything but what really matters to the ordinary Filipino.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.