The 1986 People Power Revolution in the Philippines has popularly become known as the Yellow Revolution due to the presence of yellow ribbons during the demonstration, and the arrival of then assassinated Senator Benigno Aquino. It was said to be the first successful peaceful revolution in the contemporary period, which eventually led to the end of the 20-year running authoritarian government of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos. It also culminated in the restoration of the Philippine democracy, and for the first time in the Philippine history, the proclamation of Cory Aquino as the first woman President of the country.
Since Tita Cory, as she was fondly called, wore a lot of yellows during her term, I was reminded of this historic event in the Philippines when I saw these women in yellow shirts walking by on the Boracay Island during our last visit. I have met many of them going around in groups looking for prospective customers who are mostly lounging on the beach. Comforts they provide are services such as massage, manicure, and pedicure. Like the USA and many other countries hurting from the effect of the economic meltdown, it is very common in the Philippines to see husbands and wives both working to sustain a comfortable life for their family.
However, I was reading an article recently in the Time Magazine entitled “Women, Money and Power” (Liza Mundy, Mar. 2012) and was a little bit intrigued of what it had to say. I guess, because my husband and I both contribute to our financial resources, the idea of women’s increased power at home because of their economic contributions has never crossed my mind.
This is quite interesting! I am sure like Tita Cory, who must have ruffled a few feathers and must have bruised some male egos by merely being a successful woman in her time, many accomplished women today continuously (not intentionally) make men uncomfortable embracing the idea of an economically independent woman. In fact, according to Mundy, “When the woman takes on the role of primary breadwinner, it takes away an essential part of many men’s identity: the role he was trained, tailored and told to do so since he could walk and talk. His heroes are likely all successful in these area. As long as he is the primary breadwinner, it often excuses whatever he may lack In EQ, for failing to engage in long meaningful conversations, or spend more time with the kids. He is too busy at work. So when you take away work from men, they have nowhere to turn for guidance. There’s no map through that wilderness.” As a result, many men are said to resist, retaliate, and give up.
I am trying to connect the dots. I remember when I was doing my research paper for my MA thesis, many of my female-respondents answered that one of the qualities they were looking for in a husband was high earning capability. I wonder if this preference has something to do with the popular culture that the man should provide for his family, or is it because women are just afraid of the possible negative consequences of economically outpacing their man. Well, I am not really sure.
Call me idealistic, and a hopeless romantic, but to me marriage is marriage. Despite everything that has been said about the power struggle that might occur when the woman takes the role of the primary breadwinner, the fact remains that marriage is a union of two different individuals who decide to become one. Yes, ONE. It’s not a competition. As a matter of fact, I agree with Mundy that for men who decide to take on the role of househusband, there’s an option: In which men rise to the challenge, try harder to assist their children with school work, and compete with women in a good way. “It means not only adapting but also broadening the definition of masculinity to include new skills and pleasures.”
Even when both husband and wife provide for food on the table, I don’t believe there should be a question of which sex is better fitted for what role. When I walked down the (sandy) aisle to pledge my love for my husband (we were married on the beach), I don’t remember having our vows assigning economic roles. What I recall reciting on that beautiful day was to promise that we will love each other for richer and for poorer, for sickness and in health, till death do us part.
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”