A week or two ago, I settled in early on a Sunday, resting for the workload ahead. The television was on, and Art had the controller under his palm, and while we may have different views on what constitutes "entertainment", sometimes those paths do cross.
Rated K, with Korina Sanchez, was on. They were promoting - after yet another lengthy commercial break - a woman who had turned her life around from rags to riches.
Which was interesting to both of us, to say the least. (And very Pinoy teleserye mentality.) It has a romantic ring to it, a sort of I-triumphed-against-all odds feel and in a time where right does not necessarily mean legal (as long as you have Supreme Court justices in the palm of your hands, or the weight of your mole), I needed to hear a feel-good story.
As a student of history, I know that there will be something amiss when Korina -and her team - makes their report.
I wasn't disappointed in that regard.
They dramatized her "origins", how she grew up in a poor family, and had to walk miles just to get to school. She went on to get a degree in teaching, but because of financial constraints, ends up having to take a job abroad as a domestic helper. It was during this stint in her life that she met her "Prince", a Caucasian guy who swept her off her feet, married her, and now has settled with her in her hometown, back in the Philippines, in a grandly designed house built for them.
The clip then fast forwards to how she has become some kind of saint to her hometown, giving financial support and books or supplies to the local school/s.
All well and good, on the "end" part.
What bothered us both was the "means" to her "sainthood".
The unsaid meta-message here was that a woman can become rich, powerful, immersed in philantrophy, giving, a hero for the people around her - if she marries the right guy.
It is the year 2011. We have had 2 female Presidents. Worldwide, women are breaking down all kinds of glass ceilings to prove that it isn't only a "man's world". What used to be unheard of is slowly seeping into the public consciousness, to the point where no one blinks anymore seeing women in "traditionally male roles".
Framed against this reality, I don't know how to even begin describing this episode of Rated K.
A friend of mine, a devotee to the Altar of Feminism, had more than a few choice words, though.
None of which I can print.