May 022013

COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo

October is women’s month and as I once wrote to a friend that “there’s more to life than bad government” and that it’s all a waste to spend all our energy reacting to bad government.  Yes there are a lot of ordinary things to talk about, like food.  Or sex.

Men in particular are more casual in talking about sex and you know when they’re aging for when they talk, they talk like it’s the latest bulletin of the day.  The younger ones don’t talk much and I suppose that they just do it.  At the sports club the mention of Viagra and Cialis at this price and that is a common talk, told in banter or in a serious manner.  Other host of concerns ranging from performance anxiety to frequency of performance prop up in between gulps of tuba or beer.

As I often sit alone in this group of men I just try to be one of them, joining in the banter if I’m not bored with simply being an audience.  But there are times when I am asked in order for them to get a woman’s point of view.

Now my impression is that some men with all their bravado really don’t know about women.  They assume a lot.  They presume a lot.  There is still this prevalence of treating women as functions, if not mere sex objects in the area of relationship that could range from serious to casual to fleeting affairs.  And too much double standard; well, no, multi-standard.  They seem scared of seeing a woman as an equal.

When a woman is treated as a function – an economic partner, a sexual partner, a social partner, etc. then a man can have as many women as he can handle.  As one man quipped, “my wife is my ex-girlfriend.”  The woman is not treated as a person engaged in a one-to-one correspondence with the man.

Women on the other hand just try to get by in maintaining a relationship with a man especially when children are involved, if they can’t stick it out on their own.  So dalliances on the men’s part, intuitively felt or most of the time unknown to these women are simply dismissed.  They only get to be factored in when these other relationships are glaringly open to the public.

Call it Filipino machismo or generally still an Asian cultural residue of men having many wives, duplicity is an assault on the modern Filipina who are taking more responsibility in the relationship and in the maintenance of a home.

A lot of our women are now working, earning more or less equally or even higher than their male partners.  Yet they are still expected to do the major jobs of looking after the children and the household.  Though a working woman is more empowered and self-confident, she is equally more harassed and stressed-out.

And while dreaming and working on a perfect love, family and home, the woman goes on cautiously with life in trying to be a good wife and mother and working woman at the same time.  While the man simply work and enjoys life.

The battle of the sexes should not be a battle at all where each party claims power and space but engagement, total engagement.  Indeed, relationship follows politics and as we move towards a more democratic social order then we are looking forward to a more equitable relationship between a man and a woman.







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