Sunday, October 25, 2015

Local Idiot Box Progresses

6:47 AM

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Shows like My Husband's Lover and The Rich Man's Daughter signify our nation’s slowly broadening mindset.  


Our nation is divided on many things. Are you for Poe or Roxas, Jollibee or McDo? Yay or nay for Torre de Manila, for AlDub or Pastillas girl? The divide exists whether it’s something political or just a bit simple and mindless. It comes to no surprise since every nation is composed of different people with different ideals. Probably another divide that never goes away nowadays is whether we are a ‘gay friendly’ nation or not.

In 2013, Inquirer reported that the nation ranked number ten in a global survey entitled The Global Divide on Homosexuality, which was conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center to find the countries’ stance on whether homosexuality should be accepted or not. We earned this despite the fact that we are a religious and conservative nation.

A lot of Filipinos agreed and were overjoyed by this result, but there were a few that questioned it. Who can blame them? It’s hard to believe it when Jennifer Laude was deprived of even the simplest form of justice. The media couldn’t even get her gender right when they reported her unjust death. In Eat Bulaga, they told a closeted gay father that he should stay in the closet and be ashamed of even thinking about coming out. We can’t overlook these things, regardless of how heavy or light the injustice is. It shows that the narrow mindset is alive and kicking. However, even if we can’t overlook the bad, we can’t completely ignore the good either.

We can all agree on the massive influence the media has especially here in the Philippines. It molds our way of thinking whether we admit it or not. Having a big local network like GMA start showcasing LGBTQ+ themed telenovelas is groundbreaking. They started catering to the gay community with My Husband’s Lover, following the life of a woman whose husband is having an affair with another man. It tackles topics circling the LGBTQ+ community, from relationships to society’s discrimination. It became a big hit, breaking stereotypes and viewer ratings records along the way, getting the heads of non-telenovela fans turning.

Same goes for the recently ended series called The Rich Man’s Daughter, the second series of the network to focus on homosexuality. It was more controversial because it went where local media rarely goes: lesbianism, beyond its tomboy culture, and like Western media outlets, their hypersexualization. The show was such a hit that the anticipation for the series finale went on trending on Twitter and had everyone talking, just like its predecessor. Now last September 15, the network decided to shine its spotlight to the often unsung section of the community—transgendered people—with their new show Destiny Rose.

You might be thinking: “What does this mean exactly?” in a haughty, cynical tone. Let this part the cloud of negativity that seems to have consumed you. The LGBTQ+ community’s visibility in our local media prior to these shows has been mostly comic relief. For so long, they’ve been the punch line. Imagine that: your identity being treated as a joke to the entire nation. Whether you like it or not, at some point in your life, you yourself have probably contributed to this stigma.

Why? Because people can deny it all they want, but the media will always have this strong hold on all of us. The LGBTQ+ centric shows present various perspectives of the community beyond the insulting adjectives people casually brand their friends. If they had built this stigma in our nation, the success of these shows could remove it. It is up to the nation to decide if we really want to grow as people or be forever bound by old ideals such as this.

There is always a pro and con in every issue. Are we really ‘gay friendly’? The survey says yes and some countrymen say not quite. Either way, it’s undeniable that having these forms of representation in local media are great signs of progress happening. Minority groups, such as the LGBTQ+, aren’t always represented in a flattering or diverse light. To have LGBTQ+ identity and issues be brought out there in a creative and nationwide scale helps not only the community, but the awareness of the people outside of it. This awareness is stronger than ever. These are topics that were deemed way too taboo in our nation before—now they are on local TV. Doesn’t that signify our nation’s slowly broadening mindset?

Sometimes we all get so wrapped up in all of the bad things that are happening in our nation. We focus so much on that, we tend to forget the good that is happening. But don’t you see? Our media is progressing! Let’s stop brooding for a second, and, with much pun intended, be gay as hell about it.

Article by Rogin
Art by Mikee
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Mikee loves theater and could talk about it for as long as the duration of the Les Miserables musical (maybe even longer). She can write poems and make collages but can't use a special pen for calligraphy to save her life. If she could live on ramen alone for the rest of her life, she would.


Rogin lives in one of the 7,107 islands that compose Philippines. She was born and raised there, will possibly die in one of the islands too. She is currently 18 years of age and a film student. Her holy trinity composes of books, film, and music. She doesn’t plan much in her life and just takes what she can get. Spontaneity could be her middle name but it’s Ocampo, unfortunately. This make her sound adventurous but she’s usually just in her room. Check out her blog at honorarytenenbaum.tumblr.com.

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