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By Anna Iglesias

Aeta mothers. Photo from the Probe Media Foundation.

Our contributors are a varied sort: some from NGOs, others from a more corporate background; some are well-known across the board while others lead quieter lives. Regardless of who they are and where they come from, they have something to say about our population, and we should all listen.

The following message is from Anna Iglesias, a graduate of UP Diliman and the UP College of Law:

If you are a woman, you can’t talk about it, not without raising eyebrows or being gossiped about.

They don’t tell us that to be a woman is to bleed: from a monthly period, childbirth, miscarriage, or an abortion on the fly. They don’t tell us that. No one tells us what our bodies are capable of, what it means when we say “Yes, condoms are a pain, let’s try it this one time without one.” They don’t tell us why orgasms are important, or why pleasure is not always wrong. It is strictly procreation, not recreation, even within the context of marriage.

What they do tell us is that if we get pregnant we will be thrown out into the street and we bring shame and dishonor to the family name. They tell us that virginity should be preserved, that men do not respect women who have experience. Keep your legs closed. Don’t wear anything too revealing: a Canadian judge has recently ruled that what you wear will get you raped. Nobody likes a woman who knows what she wants and is out to get it, whether it’s career advancement or sex. Play it safe, be the perfect girlfriend and save yourself for marriage.

What they don’t tell us that even if you’re a married woman, an inept or insensitive partner, lack of chemistry, chemistry, or worse, marital rape is apparently part of your marriage vows. You close your legs to everyone else before marriage, but once you take your vows you have to lie down no matter what—and pretend to enjoy it. “No” can mean being beaten up and forced to submit anyway. The perpetual “Yes” will eventually lead to another mouth to feed. Asking for it makes you a lewd woman, married or otherwise.

Some of us are have college degrees and earning our own money, but about our own body we haven’t got a clue. Nowadays, we get to read about pleasurable positions, and juicy confessions. Some of us are even inclined to tell our girlfriends what we did the other night. We get cheap thrills from reading these mags, targeting the independent, empowered Filipina. We may not fit the bill, but for the information, knowing a little something is certainly better than nothing.

Teaching it in school, they say, will open the doors to promiscuity. Oh, we’re not supposed to be doing it in the first place, so what do we do about the urges no one told us about? Talking about it will make you think impure thoughts about mounting anyone or anything that moves. Giving you knowledge about your body, about an integral aspect of your life and the risks you take will turn you into a danger to society because you will no longer be forced, coaxed or bullied into just saying yes.

A strong, independent woman will always be a threat to a small-minded society manipulated by those who wish to keep women in the dark about the truth about themselves. Knowledge is power; understanding parts of yourself beyond knowing that you bleed apparently is the most dangerous truth of all.

One Comment on ““Taboo”

  1. Sol Iglesias

    Filipina women have achieved so much politically, it’s about time we achieve more culturally…

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