Recently I attended the graduation rites of one of the universities in the Philippines. Aside from my own (Ateneo), I’ve only been to one other (UST) and was too young that time to pay attention to addresses and anything said on stage.
Anyway, this entry is about something one of the faculty (a member who is always in a high position, I was told by a couple of students) said during his introduction of the commencement speaker.
His introduction started with: “To the men in the crowd,” and he goes on to mention the long list of impressive accolades of the commencement speaker.
Nearing the end if his introduction, he goes, “For the women in the crowd,”
And there I sat thinking:
It’s going to be something inspiring, like what he said for the men (that they’d basically want to be or be as accomplished as the upcoming speaker) right? He’s not going to make a sexist joke, that girls should find a guy like that to marry–because it doesn’t matter if it’s a joke, if it’s said in jest, because the fact is that it’s still sexist and reinforces an outdated view of women. It’s jokes like that that keep the thought of women as only good for the kitchen, for their only purpose in life to land a rich husband and produce babies alive.
This professor matters enough in the university that he was asked to introduce the commencement speaker to the crowd, a university where the salutatory rites were just given by a female student who is one of the first graduates of Applied Math, who talked about deadlines, excellence, and service. There are so many girls sitting in the crowd wearing togas right now, who completed 4-5 years of university, meeting deadlines and working for their degrees.
He’s not going to say it–
Speaker continues, “Don’t you want to marry a man like this?”
All my enjoyment of his engaging introduction so far took a downturn. Wow. Wow. Couldn’t he have said that women should aspire to be like that too? To be one of the first Filipinas to carry those sort of accolades?
It would have been nice, proper, equal, if he said something along that line after dropping his “joke”. He didn’t. He did mention the speaker had a wife who was managing their business and taking care of their three children.
Because at the end of the day, that’s all we girls are good for right? Marrying and taking care of the kids, maybe doing a little business on the side if hubby provides it?
Maybe I am blowing a joke out of proportion. But jokes like that stem from and continue to propagate thinking that is, to put it simply, wrong. It dates back to times where women’s roles were to solely look after a man and play housekeeper/mom. Times when women were of lower social status, where second class citizens, where they were not treated as equals. Times have changed. There were so many young ladies there and all they were told to aspire to was to marry someone as successful as the commencement speaker, not be as successful as him, like he told the men in the crowd.