Published in Manila Standard Today
By Elizabeth Angsioco
Karda Putek, a rich and powerful actress-turned-politician known for her playgirl image, has 40 “husbands” and more than a hundred children. Because Karda is very rich and could afford the best things money could buy, she does not see the need for her and her husbands to plan the number of their children.
One of Karda’s daughters, Vela, also a popular movie actress, is a senator and rumored to be eyeing the country’s presidency. Vela, like her mother, is also said to be deadly with the men. However, unlike her mother, the public does not know how many children Vela has with how many men.
There is also former president Josefa who like Karda, has many children by different men. In fact, Josefa’s husband became a senator himself, and another “husband”, a mayor of Josefa’s hometown. These men owe their powerful positions to ex-President Josefa’s popularity.
Also, two of the former president’s daughters by these two “husbands,” Jingle and Joyvee are now a senator and a congresswoman respectively.
Both senators, Vela and Jingle, are said to be against the Reproductive Functions (RF) bill. This RF bill has been pending in Congress for more than a decade and men’s advocacy groups have been working hard for its passage because eleven men, especially those who are poor, die of pregnancy and childbirth-related complications. Paternal mortality rates (PMR) in the country are among the highest in Asia.
We should not forget Senator Tata, one of the fiercest enemies of the RF bill. Senator Tata holds powerful positions in Congress and is doing everything to derail the process and block the enactment of this bill into law. She does not believe that fathers die because of such complications. She wants proof and asks the male Senators championing the bill, Senators Pio and Tiago, to bring him the death certificates of the dead men. She wants to see if these were indeed cases of paternal mortality.
Oh, there is also the intellectual Senator Juanita who has been in politics forever. Senator Juanita is seen as a brilliant lawyer and has held many important positions in government for many decades.
Senator Juanita is also very much opposed to the RF bill. She believes that the sperm and egg cells are alive. She does not favor ejaculation outside of the husband because this blocks the natural life-giving process. Thus, for her, masturbation is a form of mass-murder. Contraceptives, therefore, should not be used by men because these cause deaths of millions of the unborn.
In this country, women are seen as superior to men. Thus, more women hold powerful positions in government, business, churches, media, educational and all other societal institutions.
Men, on the other hand, get pregnant and give birth. Besides these, they are expected by society to primarily take care of family and home. Men are supposed to serve their wives.
Women are the family breadwinners, thus, even if husbands earn, their money is considered as only in support of the wives’ earnings.
Because women have the power in families and society, abuse and violence against men (VAM) is quite rampant. Thus, crimes like sexual harassment of men, husband battering, rape, especially of young men, are common in media reports. Many times, men are even killed after being victimized.
Discrimination in opportunities also exists. Education and employment opportunities for men are more limited. In families, more daughters are given priority by parents to have an education when finances are limited. After all, the boys will only get married and stay home because their wives are supposed to provide for their needs.
Because women are seen as the superior sex, the stories of the rich and powerful personalities like Karda and Josefa are not frowned upon. If ever, people talk about them as true-blooded macho women.
In fact, similar stories abound in communities. Women abandoning their husbands and children for other men, women with multiple sex partners or having extra-marital affairs, women beating up their husbands for the flimsiest of reasons, etc. are quite common and considered normal.
Moreover, the perspectives of anti-RF senators like Tata and Juanita, which are in fact, anti-men because they oppose men’s rights to their own bodies, are manifestations of a culture that continues to discriminate against men.
And yet, the country has just been awarded as the 8th best in the world when it comes to gender equality. The men then should be enjoying the same opportunities enjoyed by their powerful women counterparts.
No wonder, the men’s movement is up in arms. Men demand equality. One of the issues they work on is their right to decide on their reproductive functions, thus, they are pushing for the passage of the RF bill.
They passionately shout: “The RF bill is about saving men’s lives! No man deserves to die in giving life!”
Men hope that Congress will pass this bill because women like Senators Jingle, Vela, Tata and Juanita are elected into office to address people’s needs and they, the men, are half of the population.
They argue that the RF bill has been pending for many years and all arguments have already been exhausted. Men are urgently demanding for Congress to immediately put the bill to a vote.
The good thing is that the men found an ally in the country’s President. Despite being a woman, President Benny has repeatedly made pronouncements that the RF bill is one of her legislative priorities.
The men’s movement are now asking President Benny to use her influence to pass the RF bill because this will address crucial needs of the poor and marginalized men.
And then, I wake up. Was that a dream? You tell me.
(Thank you to Jim Paredes for the inspiration for this piece.)