Do you think so?
We have a matricentric society. But are we matriarchal? That is the question.
I found interesting discussions about this in the net too:
- The word "matriarchal" is used loosely by commenters "The Saint" and "Ira" to refer to their experience about gender biases in schools and in corporations;
- Commenter "Annabelle" used the word "matriarchal" because we have a woman for a President;
- Commenter "Fatherpose" (obviously a non-Filipino) used the word "matriarchal" to impress their perception that Filipino men are "wimpy"
- A Wapedia entry entitled "Religion in the Philippines" debatably interprets the major roles played by women in pre-colonial Filipino history to mean that the Filipinos are basically matriarchal.
According to University of the Philippines anthropologist Michael Tan, the Philippines is a PATRIARCHIAL AND MATRICENTRIC SOCIETY.ChiliConCarne chose Matt's as "Best Answer."
Meaning, the fathers head the family while the family is closer (in both location and relationships) to the mother's family.
You may also choose to read Michael Tan's articles in his official website and in his unofficial website.
Do we agree with Michael Tan that the Philippines is patriarchal and matricentric?
Despite general perception to the contrary, Filipino society holds women with high esteem. We don't take a woman's word lightly. We respect it as a word of an equal.
Evidence of that can be found in the following:
- First, ancient Filipinos believe that man and woman come from two sections of the same bamboo pecked by a bird.
- Second, historians have now established that Filipino women in pre-colonial times had rights, held property, conducted business, and had a public life, something that their western counterparts at that time can only dream of.
- Third, hey, just look around guys! Gender equality is now enshrined in our Constitution, with full support of our male-dominated Con-Con members.
I'll leave that discussion to the academics.
Meantime, what do these things mean to our boys? It seems that at this point, it is clear that our challenge as fathers is to become models for our boys in helping them grow into...
- MEN who can make good decisions for the good of everyone, men and women alike, without getting swayed by western stereotypes. If western people think offering a seat to a lady is treating her as inferior, Filipinos offer a seat to a lady because of what's written in a Filipino's DNA: that a woman is a revered equal in the family and in society.
- MEN who espouse values that solicit respect and admiration from both men and women. Eighteenth century wild wild west machismo may make you look cool among other men, but it does not work in our society. What's despicable for either men or women is despicable for society. Period. Don't push it.
May your boy model you rightly.