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It's a little bit late for International Women's Day, but it slipped my mind that I'd planned to replace this post then. But I guess it's always International Women's Day at Ovarit!

We've all got a Peak Trans story, but this thread is more of a 'Peak Patriarchy' - a place to share your journey into feminism.

I'm particularly interested in answers to questions like:

  • What drew you towards feminism?
  • What have been your experiences the feminist movement?
  • How did you first encounter feminist thought? Books or blogs, youtubers or conversatisions with feminst friends?
  • Has your feminism changed over your life? For instance, were you a liberal feminist who radicalised?
  • What changes has becoming a feminist made to your life, your perspectives, your activism, your relationships, etc?
  • What are your priorities as a feminist?

(This is not a questionnaire or a test - these are just prompts to get you thinking.)

Looking forward to reading everyone's responses!

Earlier threads: [1], [2]

It's a little bit late for International Women's Day, but it slipped my mind that I'd planned to replace this post then. But I guess it's always International Women's Day at Ovarit! We've all got a [Peak Trans](https://www.ovarit.com/o/GenderCritical/13499/peak-trans-reprise-iii-tell-your-story-here) story, but this thread is more of a 'Peak Patriarchy' - a place to share your journey into feminism. I'm particularly interested in answers to questions like: - What drew you towards feminism? - What have been your experiences the feminist movement? - How did you first encounter feminist thought? Books or blogs, youtubers or conversatisions with feminst friends? - Has your feminism changed over your life? For instance, were you a liberal feminist who radicalised? - What changes has becoming a feminist made to your life, your perspectives, your activism, your relationships, etc? - What are your priorities as a feminist? (This is not a questionnaire or a test - these are just prompts to get you thinking.) Looking forward to reading everyone's responses! Earlier threads: [[1](https://www.ovarit.com/o/WomensLiberation/2493/how-did-you-become-a-feminist-tell-your-story)], [[2](https://www.ovarit.com/o/WomensLiberation/10146/how-did-you-become-a-feminist-tell-your-story-part-2)]

32 comments

[–] lofepi7048 6 points (+6|-0) Edited

I was born in the Philippines but sent to live with my retired grandparents in the US for education. My grandparents were extremely protective and didn't let me have much of a social life, so I spent a lot of time online and reading books.

Philippines is a traditional conservative culture that is patriarchal on the surface, but actually a bit matriarchal underneath. It's difficult to frame in western concepts. Typically the husband is the income earner, but the wife makes all the financial decisions, even in matters of family business, if that makes sense? For example it is expected that a husband will give his income to the wife, and then ask for an allowance for his hobbies.

Anyway in HS I was very much into IRC and online forums, and before torrenting or even Napster, people would share mp3s in IRC channels. This led me to discovering a lot of riot grrl bands and other music that just wasn't available in Philippines, so I guess my introduction to feminism as a concept was stuff like Bikini Kill, and then I started reading Simone de Beauvoir, Angela Davis, bell hooks, and also Filipina writers like Benilda Santos, Rosa Henson, Rosario Torres-Yu, and others. The Philippines has always kind of prided itself on our literature because it was one of our main tools against Spanish and American colonialization in the 1800s / 1900s.

It's difficult to frame my feminism in western concepts because politically speaking, I lean center-left in American politics, and maybe liberal-progressive on a case-by-case basis, but I also consider things in my Filipino culture where we may not be as "liberated" as American mentality.

So I think if you were to ask me my views on different feminist issues, I might give you a "Libfem" response for one issue, and a "Radfem" response on another issue, but I think that's absolutely normal of everyone and we all don't fit into neat square little boxes of ideology.

Absolutely normal!

Interesting what you say about the husband as the income earner but the wife as ruler of the domestic realm. I think that's a common pattern in classical patriarchy - I've read a bit on the position of mothers-in-law who rule over their son's wives. Margery Wolf wrote about this in Chinese family structures, I think.

[–] lofepi7048 3 points (+3|-0) Edited

Yes! It can sometimes be similar to Chinese family structure but also very different, the Philippines has been influenced by so many factors. In a way that the US is the "melting pot of the world", the Philippines is like the "melting pot of Asia".

We were colonized by Spain for >300 years, which reinforced many classical patriarchy elements, especially in regard to Catholic religion. Divorce for example is prohibited, you cannot be legally divorced in Philippines. You can obtain an annulment, but it is a lengthy and expensive process.

There is also a toxic masculine culture present, and it is considered 'macho' for a man to have multiple mistresses. You sometimes hear things like "a man should have 1 mistress for every x amount of his income".

This is not technically promoted in our culture, it is more like an elephant in the room. Even though the wife wields the power in domestic-financial matters, she might "look the other way" about her husbands extramarital activities, because of divorce being prohibited, and the shame of her husband's affairs becoming public knowledge.

A Filipina who separates from her husband can easily return to her family, we do not have the Chinese culture of "permanently leaving the family". Our ties to our blood family remain extremely strong, and it is expected that a husband will ingratiate himself as much as possible to his wife's family.

In traditional Filipino culture, courtship ('ligaw') could actually involve the man proving his handiness to a woman's family, before they even granted him permission to being romantically courting her. He would need to do things like chop wood and carry water, to prove that not only could he be a family provider, but also that he could provide for his wife's parents in their old age.

So our family hierarchy is much structured towards elders, and things go up the chain of command when it comes to family matters. Many family disputes can be judged and commented on by for example, a lola (grandmother) or tita (aunt).

If for example a husband is found to be abusive or constantly cheating on his wife, the elders in a wife's family will perhaps have an intervention. In a way, the elders of both person's families will communicate with each other.

So for example if I wanted to leave my husband, I would communicate and ask advice/guidance from my mother, my eldest tita, or my lola (sometimes all 3), and they will consult with my husband's mother/tita/lola.

This also goes the other way. If for example my husband had complaints about me, he would address them to my mother/tita/lola, or perhaps my father.

This is not the same as western culture of telling personal family matters to your mother, this is much more like setting up a "legal matter" within the family unit. Our titas and lolas are like lawyers and judges.

So in fact, the blood family+in-law family combines very much into a hierarchy, with the elders of both sides at the top. This is also perhaps why the elders have a say in the married couple's affairs - a disunion of the couple would actually mean a disunion of the entire clan.

We are also a country of 7,641 islands, where different indigenous cultures may play a role depending where you are. Mindanao (southern Philippines) has a much stronger Muslim influence, compared to Luzon / Cebu which are much more westernized and Catholic / Spanish influenced.

I suppose in a way, our culture has always experienced a bit of an 'identity crisis' trying to discover what it means to be 'truly Filipino'. Pre-colonial Philippines is like an entirely different world, yet we still retain much of our 'Asian sensibilities' even after so much post-colonial influence.

And talking about how feminism relates to all of this, well, thousands more words can be written. Lol!