Monday, August 09, 2010

The Queen of Wands: Surviving the Pinoy Blogosphere Part 2

Or How International Predators Stalk Filipina Bloggers

If I were to choose a tarot card to describe the Filipino Woman, it would be the Queen of Wands. Generally speaking, most of the definitions and contradictions that embody the Filipina are in this card. I wouldn't normally cite Wikipedia as a reference but since a blog is an informal medium, and since Wikipedia has the most concise description of the Queen of Wands, I shall quote it:

This combination results in a card which represents a vivacious and warm personality, full of a fiery passion put to the service of encouragement, assurement (sic), attraction, esteem, and enthusiasm. The back of her throne doesn't have a top, indicating endless possibilities. The lions on the back of her throne are associated with the element fire. Her golden atire (sic) shows that she is strong and her fire is burning with great intensity. The desert behind her is another indicator of fire. The rocks on the right side of her throne can show toughness, a hard soul, her independence.

There's the rub. For all the good qualities that we have both as nurturers and as career women (I am very confident that a Pinay can endure the harshest conditions), we are nothing but a bunch of meat to so many men.  Especially in this country. My sister has written an entry about this in her blog, where she gave advice on how to deal with perverts on the street. Thing is, the more education and work experience I attain, the more irksome men's whistles and catcalls have become. (I did not attain this level of expertise, only to be treated as meat by these lowlives.) I have been enduring these -- and worse! -- since I was 13. Each time it happens, I have the strongest urge to cause death and destruction.

And what do you know! The Filipino Woman is very popular among international perverts as well! Case in point, searching with the keywords "personal filipino woman":


Notice I added the word "personal" in it. The keyword, when used by an international blogging community, would seem almost harmless. In the local blogging community, however, it poses a different story. Now here is where -- and I must emphasize this strongly -- parents, guardians and educators should always be on the lookout for: predators.

I have nothing against social networking sites, and I am, in fact, addicted to Facebook. But I think these are also partly responsible for how Filipinas are categorized online: Lovely meat. You'd think that these international predators would be a little bit more discerning but there was one foreigner who "wisely" thought our school was a good hunting ground for Pinays. He mistakenly assumed that every Pinay who smiled at him was interested in a fling. Even the cleaning lady. And the students. (Um. We Pinoys are generally a smile-y people.)

I fed him to my gay friends.

After finding out that we in the academe are not very tolerant of predators, he flew back to his country.

Social networks seem to be the most logical hunting grounds for these. But they're spilling over to blogs. Blogs are ripe because authors post deeper insights in blogs than in Facebook, Friendster and what have you. And the personal categories in Philippine blog listing sites are the perfect starting venues for these people. And who can blame them? Check out what kind of sites are listed under "personal" (majority are all about bedroom activities) and you'll find that the word has been taken to a whole new level of semiotics.

This would normally not be an issue if the site's nature encompasses romance and relationships. It will be an issue, however, for serious hobbyists like me. Both relationships and hobbies fall under the category of "personal". A hobby is a personal thing. A social issue is also a personal thing. A teenager who is both into cross-stitching and photography could end up in a personal category, and is therefore susceptible to being contacted by predators. Heck, when I was in that category, I was not spared. To think I am a fully grown, highly academic person. (Then again, I did mention that many pervs are not very discerning.)

The solution? Find a more specific community and stay away from the word "personal". And guardians (parents and teachers), if you cannot keep your children from having an online life, at least check up on their internet habits and never fail to remind them to be careful.

Comic strip from http://www.xkcd.com



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