Islandexpat's Blog

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This makes me so angry

with 2 comments

Are you a lonely American man who can’t get a date to save his life? It’s not because you’re pathetic or socially stunted or burdened with some horribly outdated views of women – no, it’s because women in this country just won’t cut it.

Or at least that’s what the Chicago Sun-Times is suggesting.

For those of you too lazy to click, the article focuses on what I think of as ‘marriage tourism’ – in this case, men who go to the Philippines to find wives, because (many) Filipino women are supposedly ‘not looking for sexual pleasure’ and ‘would like very much to meet a nice American man and take care of him’.

I have to say, glaring geisha-syndrome and Orientalism aside, this sounds just plain wrong. As in inaccurate.

The portrayal of Filipino women as shrinking violets is completely laughable. I’ll grant you that Filipino culture can be rather macho, but in different ways – for instance, men are expected to be good cooks, because being hospitable and providing for guests and the family is very important in Filipino culture.

Being able to dance and sing – two performance-based, public activities – are highly valued in Filipino men and women. All of my Filipino female cousins can/could dance, and participated in community or professional performances. Some of them even did Tahitian dance, which uses a LOT of hip-shaking and coconut-shell bras. The ability to dance requires being in touch with, and not self-conscious about or ashamed of, one’s body and one’s physical needs.

None of the Filipino women I know are or were anything like the (perhaps imaginary) women in the article. They are/were boisterous, risque, and anything but submissive.

Maybe women born and raised in the Philippines are different – then again, my grandmother was born, if not raised, in the Philippines, and brought up by parents who did grow up in the rural Philippines. She was hospitable and good at taking care of her family, but there was no way she just wanted to take care of a nice man. And although it sounds weird to say this about family, I don’t think sex was never on her mind, either; when she was in her fifties or sixties, and had already outlasted three husbands, she had an affair with a (married) hotel chef who wanted her to run away to Florida with him.

Other examples include:

*the old Filipino lady who worked near my dance school and who once told me, ‘My husband could get mean, you know! We used to argue all the time, but I told him, “If you ever hit me, you better sleep with a knife under your pillow, because I’m Filipino – I going to come after you, and you better watch out!” ‘
*Duanna, my father’s loud-and-in-charge co-worker, who is a lovely person and can’t utter a sentence that doesn’t contain a sexual reference.
*me, although I’m not sure if this is quite the same thing, as I’m only half Filipino. But on the off chance that I do count, I am in a so-far-successful relationship that has nothing to do with ‘taking care’ of my man.

It could be that the man quoted in the article misinterpreted general hospitality as man-specific hospitality, or that Filipino social interactions can appear ‘reserved’ to Americans from the Midwest/South/Upper East Coast.

It also could be that he and other men like him are sad and pathetic, and find it so much easier to blame women for their glaring social problems.

I should point out that I’m not against two people from different countries or cultures entering into a relationship together. I’d be a massive hypocrite if I were – after all, M is British and I’m American from Hawaii. But a cross-cultural relationship should be based on PERSONAL connection, and not on some sort of cultural fetishisation. You’re dating a person, not their culture.


Written by Kelly Kanayama

February 28, 2010 at 11:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Wow, is that ridiculous. Did you see the comment below?! “I might try Mexico.” Are people that idiotic? As an American woman living in this country who thankfully found an American man who isn’t an IDIOT (which is apparently very difficult, if I’m going to generalize just like these guys), I take a bit of offense being told that I’m just a sex-crazed woman in constant need of instant gratification and men would rather go to another country to find someone better than me. That’s almost as bad as the Washington Post article telling black women to try interracial dating–not because color isn’t important, but because finding a good black man is too hard. What’s wrong with these people?


    February 28, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    • Oops, I meant to comment on the other post…


      February 28, 2010 at 8:47 pm

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