The Filipino male and his ego

On the evening of December 23, we drove my mother to her house in Caloocan and, on the way back, along Elliptical Road in Quezon City, an Isuzu DMAX swerved sharply from the lane on our right to the lane on our left. My husband hit the brakes and instinctively honked his horn, acts which apparently bruised the macho ego of the DMAX driver. As we passed him, he already had the passenger window down and he was cockily looking at us and showing us that he had a hand gun.

Twenty years ago, if I were driving the car, I would have swerved and cut right in front of him. If I weren’t the driver, I would have egged on the driver to do just that and engage the arrogant other driver in a road war. But it isn’t twenty years ago. The DMAX driver wasn’t worth the time and the energy (anger requires energy). I got the license plate number – ZBR 871 – but I’m not even interested in finding out the name of the owner. For now, at least. If the driver needed to pull out a gun to show he’s macho, the gun must surely be a substitute for non-existent balls. Too pathetic for attention but a very interesting point to explore.

See, growing up, there’s one thing I have learned about Filipino males. And please note that I use the term “males” instead of “men.” Real men are secure about their masculinity and don’t need guns nor big cars nor arrogance to assert it. It is the males with tiny balls – literally or figuratively, take your pick – who find this psychological need to play the role of a cock about to attack his opponent in a sabong confrontation at every opportunity and whatever the circumstances. What they lack in real worth, they try to make up for with arrogance hoping that people would take the arrogance as a sign of manliness instead of what it truly is – a pathetic attempt to cover up their insecurities.

And I’m not just talking about pompous drivers. I’m also talking about womanizers, hard drinkers, the neighborhood toughies, the fraternity and street gang war freaks, the wife beaters and the rapists. It would be so easy and convenient to simply label them as evil deviants but that would be too simplistic. That would be ignoring the root of their actions. They are victims, really. Victims of a culture that expects men to be strong and virile and always be full of that take-charge attitude – expectations that often become too overbearing, overwhelming and totally misunderstood that they lead instead to acts of senseless violence and grief. [Read more...]