Over-Romanticizing the Filipina

by Leonard Cervantes

amosolo.jpgWoman By The River – Fernando Amorsolo 

Today I saw one of my old college classmates on the subway. He’s a Trinidadian guy and we had fun at school talking about whatever things we have in common — not much actually, but we’re both island folk in our own way.  At one stop, a pretty Filipina girl got on the train and sat next to us, then got off a few stops later. Right after, my friend turns to me and says, “GUY. I LOVE FILIPINO WOMEN.” 

My first instinct was to pummel him and I didn’t know why. As soon as I snapped out of it, my over-critical, somewhat-political mind started to swirl between replies of “Yes, they ARE great.” and “But WHY do you ‘love’ Filipino women?” 

Critical me won out and I asked “Oh yah? Why’s that?” in a non-threatening way, maybe just the way a Filipino guy is expected to. And he replied, “They’re just so EXOTIC. I just like that flava…” 

I just shut up at that point, because in truth, he’s an alright guy and probably not deserving of a socio-anthroplogical lecture on exoticism of any type. I spent the rest of the train ride thinking of big things, too big to be thinking about at 9 in the morning on a work Friday. 

Things like: 

– Is it actually OK when people outside our culture look at us as exotic? And when they do, what do they mean? Skin tone? Dark hair? Or does it go deeper, like in an emotional way? Or is it deeper in a bad way like in a submissive Geisha-type sex servant way? Or maybe it IS admirable because exoticism stems from an admiration of the actual heritage?  

– How come you never hear white guys say “I love white girls”, seldom hear black guys say “I love black women” (well you hear that often these days, if it’s Mos Def or someone like that saying it), and almost never Filipino women say “I LOVE Filipino men”. Actually, as a Filipino man, I’ve almost NEVER heard that from a Filipino woman, and honestly… it’s always been a bit of a heartbreaker.

– Is it because living in North America gives us all types of outlooks that influence our preferences and I don’t mean for the worse, I mean for the better; we’re all products of the melting pot.

– Furthermore, has that outside influence led to a backlash? Has that influence sent our self-love into the negative reaches so we don’t think we’re good enough anymore? As if everything BUT us is better, and if we somehow get outside our own culture, we’ve achieved some sort of elevated status? Is it true? 

And when I say “we” I mean a people of a certain culture, because like it or not, whether we like each other or not, we’re still “WE”. 

Then I thought about myself, and my attitudes. For some reason, I’ve always liked being Filipino and for the most part have always dated within my culture. Probably, I’m as guilty of exoticism as anyone because I put Filipino women on a pedestal. I would like to think that I have more depth for the cause because I was raised by a Filipino woman and that’s beautiful. Plus, I know what Filipino women have done and battled throughout history and today and I still think that’s beautiful. 

But is me saying, “I LOVE FILIPINO WOMEN” any different from my co-workers’ reasoning? Just because mine is based on historical text, heritage and culture, is that any better than saying “I like that flava?” Don’t I just like that flava too then… but in a different way? Is it any more justifiable? Do I have the right? 

I like to think that I can stake a claim because the things that I like about Filipino-ness in the aesthetical sense are some of the things I like about myself too… mocha skin and burnished brass in the summer, almond eyes in shape and colour, beauty marks in perfect places… In that way, I think my saying “I LOVE Filipino women” is more mine, than his. If I had said to my friend on the subway, “I LOVE black women because I like that flava”, I think my friend would be pissed off. So why did it come so easy for HIM to say and why am I so conflicted at the thought of turning the tables?

Maybe it’s because Black men have taken ownership of their sexuality and identity, and we Asian and Filipino men as a group have NOT – and we need to. We are sexy! 

So what are the right reasons for preference? Are there any? And which ones are more acceptable than others? And I don’t mean love, because I do believe that love is blind. When you grow to truly LOVE someone you love that person and not the culture. 

But we’re not blind. We use our eyes to find what we like. Our eyes see — and who captures our eye initially is definitely skewed towards how we see the world and ultimately, how we see ourselves. 

So is it all in the mind? 

The author Vicente Rafael writes about it in White Love and Other Events in Filipino History. The historian Renato Constantino says that colonialism has bred self-hate in Filipinos and we’re built to hate ourselves, therefore hate our own. 

Maybe if I didn’t learn to love myself already, it might be hard to love my own. 

Thank God, I find it easy.   

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25 Responses to “Over-Romanticizing the Filipina”

  1. Kudos to this post.
    I am Filipino myself and I’m against exoticism. I don’t understand the mentalities of people but this post really spoke to me. It’s good to find people like you out there! Keep up the good work 🙂

  2. Interesting read, thanks.

    Ultimately it should be about who the woman is, not what her nationality is.

    I think that people are attracted to those who are different than themselves – most people are heterosexual because they’re attracted to the opposite sex. It’s like the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

    I may be totally wrong, but whatever 😛

  3. I LOVE Filipino women too! My mom is one, my sister is one, my aunts, my lolas, MY woman is too. BIGGUPS to all Filipino women, cuz y’all are BEAUTIFUL.

    …and nationality has everything to do with it! What other kind of woman would hook up CHAMPORADO for breakfast?… i rest my case.

  4. I have a filipno american girlfriend she became an american citizen at age 9 , hopefully fiancee soon. I have a shirt that reads I love my filipino girlfriend. I love to wear it to tell everyone around me I am proud to have such a loving, caring, beautiful lady in my life she has told me not to put her on a pedastool but how can I not she yes is a lady and an american what makes her unique is her heritage and what filipino women hold dear. alot of american woman will give-up at the drop of a hat in a marriage not all but many where as most filipinos will not (mind you if a filipino lady is abused in anyway I would enchorage them to leave asap) many western women and men have lost there sense of family values and loyalty along with religous commitment. filipino and filipino american women are instilled with this and I find that very attractive and a requirement for a happy and wonderful life. So I guess yes i do over romanticize my filipino american girlfriend but I love doing it because she is so thoughtful and wonderful and very beautiful inside and out

  5. Racial discrimination is one of the tremendous earthly madness of the world. All of us are subject.I could still very well remember the one of the famous piece of Martin Luther King who fought against the caucasins

  6. Racial discrimination is one of the tremendous earthly madness . All of us are subject to that .I could still very well remember the one of the famous piece of Martin Luther King who fought against the Caucasians states that “,I have a dream that someday We will live in a nation that We will not be judge by the color of our skin but by the content of our character”. As long as the society will always sets standards we can never escape to that.
    All of us are beautiful because we are God’s greatest masterpiece(Genesis 1:27)
    For me, the inner beauty that matters because it never fades. We should not make judgment to how a person looks. Sometimes looks can be deceiving.

  7. I thought I’m the only one here ranting about ‘exoticism’ of Filipinas. I am a Filipina here in the Philippines and I’m bothered whenever I hear ‘exotic’ Filipinas, not only from foreigners, but also to fellow Filipinos. I know some who considers themselves exotic…because they don’t look like those light-skinned mestizas on TV who are supposed to be the standards. And if a dark-skinned one succeeds in Philippine showbiz, she’ll be labeled as the ‘exotic beauty’. IN HER OWN COUNTRY. I wonder why we Filipinas look more exotic to our own people than Caucasians.
    Salamat po sa essay!

  8. grlygrl0630 Says:

    Hey Ryan Says…I am an attractive AND educated American woman. You can start being jealous now, because you wern’t good enough for someone like me. I didn’t need to f**k some fat old man from a different country to get here, like many of your girlfirnd’s family members probably have done…hey maybe that’s how they got here, never know! I’ve personally known quite a few “Pinays” in my life, and I can personally tell you that they are just preying on the western women’s leftovers. They can be auctioned off to the highest bidder, like cattle…no really. Some of the poor parents there will even sell their teenage daughters into mail-order bride services, just so the girl can send them a few bucks every month. The rest find some stupid, lonely American with some $$$…get knocked-up trap the poor fool. Have you ever noticed people don’t move TO the Phillipines, they move AWAY from there. Sadly it’s a very poor country and the women will do anything to snag themselves an older rich man from just about ANY other country that will get them OUT of there, it doesn’t even have to be an American. Not to say that they aren’t educated, most of them are. Which could potentially make them more dangerous. Some people will do ANYTHING to improve their social status. I’m not saying EVERYBODY is the same, but anybody who has taken Sociology 101 knows that stereotypes are derived for a reason and are mostly accurate. Just be carefull if you’re considering dating one, or anyone from a third-world country for that matter…to them you are considered a prize. That’s what every Filipino parent wants for their little Pinat, a nice Anglo-American to take care of their baby. Filipino men SUCK..even the Flip women don’t like them. Believe me, your girlfriend’s mom or sister or cousin or SOMEONE is in her ear right now telling her, “don’t mess this up, this is your golden ticket. Hey, I got an idea, get married and see how long it is before you’re being asked to send money over to the Philipines to help out desperate family members…if she has any. If not, you got lucky! trust me. I KNOW what I’m saying, my brother AND my father married Pinay’s (my father did after my mom died) and they BOTH divorced the GOLDIGGERS!! Both of them tried to get WAY MORE than they were entitled leagally, and LOST! I’m not racist or ignorant, just very OBSERVANT.

    • if you’re educated , as you said (clap clap clap though i doubt it) you my dear will know the difference bet . borderline racist and observant . you failed to justify that you’re not racist (even if you denied it at the end of your comment) because your comment is very subjective and it’s a hasty generalization 🙂 .. and you’re self-proclaimed attractive? wew , get a hold of yourself . haha . you’re attractive if the people around you finds you attractive . It’s not “I volunteer” and stuff . XD

  9. filipino women are real gold diggers. i am born and brought up in a middle east nation and there i find these pinays trying to hook up with rich arabs for money. i didnt know that in US too they do the same.

  10. For those two who made a comment above.. “uma” and “grlygrl0630″… i understand all your views about filipina women. I truly do… there are some that will do what they have to do to get out of poverty.. There are also a lot that would work with everything they have just to get to where they are. Why not talk about the people here that treat marriage like a game and try to get as much as they can from each other during a divorce. Desperation does not choose a race
    Those attitudes that you are describing don’t only concentrate on one race alone. There is at least one for every country, every race, every nation. Not one is better than the other. If there can be robbers in Russia there can be Robbers in Japan too. Same concept.

    So please be mindful about what you are saying and think about the people you are going to offend. It really makes you sound under-educated and unsophisticated despite of what you claim yourself to be. Also, you would not be doing your own race a favor by representing them in the manner that you are in this comment. Everyone is proud of their own race. Represent them well in how you act, carry yourself, and how you communicate with others.

    “Pensar antes de hablar”
    “Mag-isip bago magsalita”
    “Think before you speak”

  11. Piensa***

  12. SummerDawn Says:

    grlygrl0630 I cannot believe what you just stated!!! As I am sorely surprised that you would make such a comment!! Fist off yes they are in a poor country and yes there are two sides of a coin that would be the equivalent to saying all Muslims are terrorist and all blacks in America are gangsters. And that comment about Filipino men was wrong. My boyfriend is the sweetest guy ever and a true gentlemen~guess what he is Filipino. You have to realize that every culture has its bad but also the positives. I like the Filipino culture because of the beliefs the values and the kinsman-ship!!

  13. “uma” and “grlygrl0630″… speaking out of hatred and envy would never ever do good at all. the problem is people look at the negative side of a thing, they forget to look at what is good in someone or in something. what you see is what you get. what i mean is every race has its bad and good side. but what does matter is how you look at them. our eyes would always find good and bad. but we can always turn them into positive. you see good… emulate it. you see bad… learn from it. what you have observed and seen on these filipino women would never make you and your race better than theirs. i am sure you have seen from you fellow worst than what you have seen from them. but have these made you think your race is the worst of all? let’s be fair and just. let us all clothe the love of God and we are not going to look at someone’s color or race. log on to… esoriano.wordpress.com and learn in life!

  14. gusto ko ang mga nisabi mo ^__^

  15. grlygrl0630, you sound uneducated. Don’t generalize. That makes you sound ignorant.

  16. Roberto Rios Says:

    grlygrl0630, post pics or you are a fat white whore.

  17. I hate to offend anyone but I should say Philippines is the only country in which all the women are hookers.These woman are very lustful with no self respect..I am a pediatrician in Kuwait.Many of the nurses here are from Philippines and I am really astonished to find that all of them indulge in relationships with more than one men.Some of them managed to get some American white men whom they met through internet(They are waiting for their US visa.I now understand why they spend too much of time in front of computers).I don’t understand why they do it. Some of them are already married in philipines .I am not sure if they do it for money or just for fun.Yet they proudly boast of being Catholics and highly religious.Thai woman too are notorious as hookers but not all of them.I know women coming from poverty stricken nations are hookers but in case of pi nays even the most educated ones are not different.Unexpectedly I came across this blog.There are many attractive women coming from third world nations like India,Bangladesh etc.none of them hook up foreign men for their meal ticket .I know there are misfits every where.I should say a Filipinas’ brain is between her legs.Instead of using her brains to get education for a better job and life, She uses the place between her legs to get a meal ticket.she is indeed smart. All other poor nations should follow the step of Philippines.The parents should give proper English education to your daughters.They can hook up white men and get you a meal ticket like Filipinos do.Otherwise go to middle east and hook up arabs like filipinas do.LOL .no offense

  18. zagazig Says:

    we the expatriate Arabs in UAE are very much grateful to this Island nation for breeding these exotic women. I am a young Egyptian guy and almost all my friends including me have lost our virginity to Filipino woman.In a cosmopolitan city like Dubai we find Chinese,Lebanese and Russian girls but they r professional whores who are very much expensive for middle income guys like us. Our best choice are Filipino girls who work in almost all the shopping malls and even as nurses in hospitals who are ready to do anything for our pleasure.They just want us to be sweet to them.This situation cannot even be imagined in Egypt as our girls would stay virgins till marriage(let them be like that).Filipinas are the easiest one to get laid in Dubai and yes plenty of them are here.They are born for sex. We will be always thankful to these Island nation or else we would have had to stay virgin till marriage.I definitely love easy women than those who play hard to get.we are thankful to philipiness .

  19. diete rapide…

    […]Over-Romanticizing the Filipina « BrownScene – Urban Filipino Cool[…]…

  20. Reasons For Divorce…

    […]Over-Romanticizing the Filipina « BrownScene – Urban Filipino Cool[…]…

  21. @zagasig: i also have egyptian friends but they all showed respect me as filipina. you sound whore!! shame on you…

  22. benagan Says:

    Arab people are rapist and so with black guys!!!that’s all…

  23. I agree with you. Most Filipinas speak English well. The way they act is like Spanish ladies. Great post. I like it.

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