Thursday, May 19, 2016

Filipinas in History: Lualhati Bautista

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Why the author of Dekada '70 deserves to be celebrated. 

She has breasts and hips and she carries a baby in her arms. But Lualhati Bautista – one of the most revered writers in contemporary Philippine Literature – fiercely wrote about women beyond their breasts, hips, and babies.

Lualhati wrote about the struggle and the power that came with having those within the context of the Filipino society in most of her works; notably in her martial law-era novels Dekada ‘70 (which was later turned into a film by Star Cinema) and Bata, Bata, Pa’no Ka Ginawa?

In Dekada ‘70, Amanda, a plain housewife and mother of five, battles the gnawing feeling of meagerness in her own home. Her children are changing skins; stronger and thicker ones that seem like they don’t need any more protecting. Meanwhile, her husband is still bound by patriarchal conventions that hinder her from getting a job outside of their home. And to make matters more complicated, all of these are happening while the country is under the oppressive martial law period.

In Bata, Bata, Pa’no Ka Ginawa?, the protagonist Lea lives on the opposite side of Amanda’s plight: as a single mother, she has autonomy over her family and personal life. Her independent will to work away from home and to have a live-in partner veers away from the martial law era’s expectation of what women ought to do. But this blessing of autonomy consequently renders her into a hobble; she has to face the pace of time that swiftly lets her two children grow into the world and the eventual judgement of society of her liberal choices alone.

Lualhati Bautista proves in her works that despite women already being mothers, they still have some growing up to do. Through this process of coming of age, they are all the more brazen into not just their womanhood, but also their humanity.

Article by Nola
Art by Sean
Nola spends most of her time writing and drinking beer. All the things in between are for sleeping and eating pork chop.

Sean is a 15-year-old muggle-born who is proud to say that he is perfectly abnormal, thank you very much. Peculiar in many ways, he is a far cry from that common stereotyped teenager.  He has a great passion for art, and would love to do nothing more than making collages and other creative thingamajigs. 


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