This paper attempted to analyze in the six Philippine short stories written by Filipino women the struggles that continue to plague women as they continue to improve their plight in a patriarchal society. 1. “Desire” by Paz Latorena (1937); 2. “The Corals” by Edith Tiempo (19483. 3. “The Virgin” by Kerima Polotan-Tuvera (1952); 4. “Love in the Corn Husk” by Aida Rivera-Ford (1957); 5. “Magnificence” by Estrella Alfon (1960); and 6. “The Visitation of the Gods” by Gilda Cordero- Fernando (1962). Specifically this study aimed to answer these following questions: 1. What elements of feminism are present in the six short stories? 2. What struggles are experienced by these women characters in terms of: economic inequality; social discrimination; political power; and psychological oppression? 3. What are the causes of their struggles? 4. What courses of action do the women take to triumph over their struggles? 5. How can this study contribute to the in promoting gender equality and women empowerment in the local setting as well as in the international stage?
For the research methodology, the study made use of the descriptive method. The researcher found it was appropriate because it makes use of the processes of gathering, analyzing and classifying data about prevailing conditions, practices, beliefs, processes, trends, and cause and effect relationships. (Calderon and Gonzales 62). The principal anchor of this method was the description of the nature of a situation as it exists during the time of the study and to explore the causes of a particular phenomenon (Traviers cited in Gabiola et.al. 31)
After carefully analyzing the six short stories and incorporating the research methodology stated, the researcher arrived in these findings:
1. There are elements of feminism present in the six selected Filipino short stories:
1.1 Women’s objectification in the society is present in “Desire” by Paz Latorena and in “The Corrals” by Edith Tiempo, another element of feminism assumes that
1.2 Women are oppressed economically, politically, socially, and psychologically is reflected in the “Love in the Corn Husk” by Aida Rivera-Ford ; “Magnificence” by Estrella Alfon ; “The Visitation of the Gods” by Gilda Cordero-Fernando and “ The Virgin” by Kerima Polotan-Tuvera.
2. The Filipina Woman has experienced different struggles in her life,
Economically, politically, socially and psychologically depending on the time and milieu of which she is part of.
3. The causes of these struggles are:
3.1 Societal norms;
3.2 Traditional gender role expectations;
3.3 Patriarchal oriented society;
3.4 Culture based beliefs.
4. The Filipina woman can overcome these struggles with grace, dignity and courage.
5. The K12 curriculum goals include gender equality and women empowerment however it lacks the sufficient subjects that will help promote these goal.
Keywords: Patriarchal Society, feminism, feminist analysis.
“ . . . . A girl should not expect special privileges because of her sex, but neither should she adjust to prejudice and discrimination. ”
― Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique
Around fifty years ago, Betty Friedan wrote the book The Feminine Mystique in her quest for a more significant existence as a woman by presenting the struggles that women during those times underwent. Friedan explored issues on women’s identity, the tension between family life and public life, and the roadblocks that prevent true gender equality. Essentially, Friedan provided the impetus to the feminist movement in the 1960’s. However, so many of the issues Friedan raised are still nearly as relevant today as they must have been then.
In this era of sweeping milestones in the fields of science and technology, of refining societies and of modernizing people’s way of living, how far had society come in terms of closing the gender gap? Are women’s struggles now any different from what they experienced many years back?
Over the past fifty years the cultural context within which women have been defined is embedded in a patriarchal system, In most parts of the world, gender and female sexuality are defined by the dominant social group (men) through a socialization process mediated by family and community, school, church, and the media. In practice, this has come to mean male dominance/female subordination. Women traditionally have always been thought of as inferior to men. They are expected to keep the household, nurture the children, attend to their husband’s needs and remain faithful to them. (Azarcon, cited in Tarrayo et al. 2005).”
This perception is now debunked by women who have become more assertive in articulating their demands for equality between the sexes and respect for rights they are entitled to. (Bronte, 15) As a matter of fact in the last five decades, the women’s place in the society has changed dramatically. Women have expanded their career aspirations. (Bronte, 15) They are no longer confined to traditional female fields such as education or nursing. They have gained access into previously male-dominated fields such as accounting, medicine, law, architecture and engineering. Integration, however, does not necessarily mean acceptance and equality nor does it mean that women are already free of the struggles that they were faced centuries ago.
Furthermore, the women’s struggles are not confined to the corners of the home. Women continues to exert effort in the workplace where she unceasingly attempts to be on equal footing with men. This struggle is strongly perceived as well in the field of literature. Books written by men are often deemed more prestigious and worthier than those written by women. Statistics show that books written by the male of the species make it to the canon which understandingly is male-created. Women writers will often use male pseudonyms to conceal their true identity, their true gender. Some of the best-selling books were written by women who have taken male pen names such as J.K Rowling whose real name is Joan Rowling. She is the author of the best-selling Harry Potter Series, her use of a pen name was suggested by her publisher, Barry Cunningham who thought that young boys might be wary of a book written by a woman.
In the Philippines, many Filipina writers encounter the same struggles in their literary careers. Of particular interest is Angela-Manalang Gloria’s “Revolt from Hymen” the piece that seethes with anger at the experience of marital rape, in it the poet successfully transmutes the raw display of rage into controlled but masterful spite. The said poem is part of “Poems” A collection of lyrical pieces exploring a woman’s private passions. The controversial piece was ignored at the 1940 Commonwealth Literary Contests, by the all-male judges who saw her work as “immoral” and thus objectionable. (Manlapaz, cited in Tarrayo et al. 2005).”). The contest was won by Rafael Zulueta y da Costa’s patriotic verse, Like the Molave.
On the other hand, it can be observed that the relationship and difference of men and women has been a central and recurring theme in Philippine literature, which spans across various decades. Likewise, most of these stories have one fundamental similarity with one another: they embody the image and struggles of the women accordingly to the kind of culture and society of the particular time they wrote. (Archibald, 15).
These women’s concerns and struggles are contemporary subject in Filipino fiction too. This paper will attempt to analyze in the six Philippine short stories written by Filipino women the struggles that continue to plague women as they continue to improve their plight in a patriarchal society. “Desire” by Paz Latorena (1937); “The Corals” by Edith Tiempo (1948); “The Virgin” by Kerima Polotan-Tuvera (1952); “Love in the Corn Husk” by Aida Rivera-Ford (1957); “Magnificence” by Estrella Alfon (1960); and “The Visitation of the Gods” by Gilda Cordero- Fernando (1962).
The study made use of the descriptive method. The researcher found it was appropriate because it makes use of the processes of gathering, analyzing and classifying data about prevailing conditions, practices, beliefs, processes, trends, and cause and effect relationships. (Calderon and Gonzales 2007). The principal anchor of this method was the description of the nature of a situation as it exists during the time of the study and to explore the causes of a particular phenomenon (Traviers cited in Gabiola et al. 2008) It enabled the researcher to answer the questions in the statement of the problem.
The study determined the causes of women’s struggles for equality as it is reflected in Six Filipino Short Stories “Desire” by Paz Latorena (1937); “The Corrals” by Edith Tiempo (1948); “The Virgin” by Kerima Polotan-Tuvera (1952); “Love in the Corn Husk” by Aida Rivera-Ford (1957); “Magnificence” by Estrella Alfon (1960); “The Visitation of the Gods” by Gilda Cordero- Fernando (1962).
The six short stories reflect elements of feminism in its plot and it shows the early progress of feminist movement in the Philippines dating back to the 60’s
- Themes such as women objectification; oppression; gender gap were all present in the six short stories.
- These literatures conveyed that the Filipina woman struggled in many aspect such as economic, political, social and psychological and it varies through time and milieu in which she is part of.
- There were many factors considered to be the cause of continuous struggle of Filipina women such as societal norms; traditional gender role expectations; patriarchal society and cultural based belief.
- There weren’t enough short stories included in the new K12 curriculum to enable the promotion of feminism in basic and secondary schools.