Thursday, February 9, 2012

JoeAm Defines Love in the Philippines

Reader Attila poses some superb questions.  My words, not his:

  • How does gender affect Filipino attitudes toward white Americans and European men?

  • Do Filipinas love their white boy friends, or do they simply rationalize that it is in their best interest to be loyal and thereby rich?

  • Do Filipino men think white men are sex mad, abusive and lewd? ARE they?

I submitted these questions to JoeAm's secret "can't hide no more" social microscope. This highly refined instrument was designed to parse the Filipino psyche in terms of social interactions. As promised, I upgraded the equipment and adjusted the fidelity so it is able to examine such complex social mechanisms as "love" and bedroom behavior.

So this promises to be one juicy blog indeed.

First of all, the machine reports that Filipinos, both men and women, have slightly unreal judgments of American, European and Australian white men. They are unreal for two reasons:

  1. Because the characteristics of white men who live in the Philippines are very different from the norm of white men who live in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

  1. Because Filipino interactions with Whities are shaped by a traumatic period of colonization by America that gave Filipinos the impression that Americans are either inferior or superior, depending on if you have speak with one to the face.

After the machine deals with these two facets of Filipino misunderstanding, I will report the output that occurred when I submitted "Filipinos and love" and "Filipinos and sex" for examination.

Whities Here are Different

"Whities", as the term is used here, is a non-discriminative descriptor that unifies Caucasian males from America, Europe and Australia in one analytically useful bucket.

Philippine Whities are different from Whities in the homeland. For one thing, they are generally older and are here to wield their paltry retirement savings into big-time living in a really cheap country. Furthermore, many Americans have military experience in the Philippines and know Filipinas are entrepreneurial, seeking to make money where they can find it, in various creative ways. If some of those ways are in the bedroom, so be it . . .

This means that generalizations about Whities in the Philippines apply only to Whities in the Philippines, not younger or richer or differently motivated Whities in the homeland. Philippine Whities are generally more opinionated than younger Whities in the homeland because age does that to you.

Conclusion: don't judge Americans or Europeans or Australians based on what Philippine Whities do.

Colonization and What it Means

First, it is important to understand that the key dynamic shaping Filipino social interactions is power. It is not generosity or kindness or greed. Well, maybe a little greed, as it enhances power.

But power is the defining characteristic of any interpersonal engagement. Filipinos read it like the Chinese read tea, only a lot faster, and it does not have to be heated. A Filipino can determine who is in power through some sixth sense that considers skin color (whiter is more powerful), clothing (a t-shirt on a woman is not powerful), cosmetics (you figure it out), bust size (women only, of course), quality of chicken (men), and other readouts we Whities are absolutely oblivious to. Well, we can figure out the bust size okay.

The point here is power matters, and much of a Filipino's life is spent building his own power at the expense of someone else.

So Filipinos have two reactions to Whities.

If they are at a distance, every tool in the chest, or trick in the book, will be used to bring the Whitie down. One of the best tools is to slap on the tag "sex pervert". Associated with this for the hapless Filipina who is married or on the arm of the pale dude is the tag "prostitute". These tags are easily applied but don't come off, ever. No one can know if they are true or not unless he himself is a pervert or CIA agent spying on the couple's bedroom.

Whities don't help their cause by violating conservative Philippine norms of public behavior. Like holding hands in public or some other offensive gesture.

However, when the Filipino actually has to meet the Whitie face to face, the power table is turned. Because of the old colonial days, Whities are feared. They behave different, being blunt and loud and having money, which can buy all kinds of power. So the Filipino facing up to a Whitie turns instantly subservient. Some even grovel. Some start acting silly, or telling off-color jokes that are too intimate for the situation. Most just go quiet and wary. Young Filipinos giggle and make rude remarks to their friends.

Trouble occurs in the middle distances, when Filipinos, feeling empowered by being amongst their friends, make loud remarks that Whities hear and don't appreciate.

Conclusion: understand that power games are just that, games with no relevance to anything at all.

Filipino Sex and Filipino Love

You know, I've done enough writing on this blog, and will carry this subject over to a future writing.

It is important that readers reflect on this "power motivation" because it is one of the key factors that makes Filipinos behave differently than Whities. Note that I said "differently".

There is no good or bad attached to the behavior of either Filipinos or Whities, for both are merely swimming in the pond they grew up in.

Besides, attaching good or bad judgments to another culture's natural style is mildly psychologically deranged and reflects low self esteem. It is wise to use an unbiased analytical machine to perform such evaluations.


  1. "much of a Filipino's life is spent building his own power at the expense of someone else."
    This is incredible. How certain are you? Did it start during the Marcos regime? The minds were corrupted around that time? Was it the traditional thinking and value even before? Your statement would explain a lot of things that I did not clearly understand before.
    "To bring the white down" has other reasons than that. It may come from their obsession about light skin. Filipino man in general like white or light skin women. Filipinas also find white attractive or at least they like mestizo mix of the two races. That could make the Filipino man feel insecure about the Filipina. In order to control their women they are quick to label them as prostitutes or label the white man as animalistic sexually or a sex pervert. Is this their way of self defense the way to control their women and also to feel higher?

  2. The form of power I mention is not physical, but intellectual. Preventing loss of face with lots of excuses and blames. Lots of critical comments to suggest being an expert on all things. In the process, others get ridiculed and otherwise chopped down to a level below the chopper. Even friends are relentless at laughing at one of their buddies who slips and falls or in other ways gets embarrassed. Mostly it is benign, or sometimes unkind, as with gossip and rumors. One would expect insecurity to accompany such excuses and blames, but the "presentation" is the opposite of insecurity. It is confidence solidified in stubbornness. I'll deal with boy/girl relationships in a future blog.

  3. Joe, with lack of good information, people will take shortcuts in understanding something in front of them.

    Education plays a major part in eliminating ignorance. I'll take a wild guess using glasses of ignorance and TV.

    Imagine if I have to base my assumptions on how mainland Americans are on these shows: Inside Edition, Oprah, The View, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and Minute to Win It. If I use those variables, I'd say "Whities" are not really a lot different from us "Brownies" in the islands. I guess being shallow is a universal human trait. We just try to put on masks of intellectualism, don garbs of snobbery and whatever. We all try to establish some sort of "order" in society.

    Honestly, isn't all that we do aimed at "unconsciously" establishing the order of who gets to mate first?

    At the end of the day, who cares about those differences? We're just animals who think we are not. ;)


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