You According to Stereotypes, II

If you have not yet read the introduction to this post, you can read it here. For those who read it already, this now is the first installment of our attempt to list the stereotypes about us Igorots. For the most part, we will be getting examples of these stereotypes from media/movie portrayals. Your suggestions about other stereotypes that should be a part of this list are welcome.

1. The dirty, unkempt Igorot stereotype. We already talked about this in our posts regarding Asian Treasures (here and here).

2. The loin cloth wearing Igorot warrior stereotype. Asian Treasures likewise perpetrates this stereotype with a big Igorot warrior going up against Robin Padilla. You can also see it in the 1990s movie, Machete which starred now senatorial candidate Cesar Montano as, what else, a loin cloth wearing Igorot warrior.

3. The backward/uncivilized Igorot stereotype. Once again, you can see this stereotype in Asian Treasures. As we said, the people behind the show might have made a list of Igorot stereotypes and used them with alacrity (to borrow the word of one of you in the comments section).

4. The Igorot as an exotic sexual being stereotype. Interestingy, this stereotype applies to both Igorot men and women. In the case of women, movie portrayals of exotic Igorotas date back to the 1960’s with the movie Igorota. Afterwards, movies such as Ang Babae sa Ulog, Banaue, and others took the same route of portraying Igorot women as exotic sex objects.

The portrayal of Igorot men as sex objects is, I think, more recent. Michael Tan, in his article which we reprinted here, mentioned something about how Igorot loincloths are being used by macho dancers probably to make them look exotic. Machete, the movie referred to above, is another example. Also, if you visit forums about Marky Cielo you will eventually find someone drooling about Marky’s Igorot sex appeal.

5. The poor Igorot or the Igorot as victim of poverty stereotype. Or the Igorot as object of charity or largesse stereotype. So you have media entities bringing dole outs to Igorots in the boondocks. These efforts are, not unexpectedly, televised to make it appear as if TV stations like GMA-7 and ABS-CBN are the answer to the Igorot’s lack of worldly goods. There’s also this movie, Batad sa Paang Palay about an Ifugao boy who can’t afford shoes. I still have to watch the movie so I am reserving my judgment.

Reviews say that it is a good movie. What disturbs me is the fact that the boy’s ethnic background is highlighted in the movie’s promotion. Other movies about poverty such as Magnifico or Mga Munting Tinig do not highlight the ethnolinguistic background of the characters. So why is Batad being treated differently? Maybe because it conforms to the stereotypical notions that the producer/director have of Ifugaos.

RELATED POSTS: You According to Stereotypes; Asian Treasures: The Bad Part; Asian Treasures: A Shorter Version of the Bad Part. IMAGE

8 thoughts on “You According to Stereotypes, II”

  1. It’s really sad that the media is “miseducating” the Filipinos regarding “us”.

    Isn’t it an irony? Misconceptions in Asian treasures yet for 2 seasons may mga Igoys sa Starstruck?

    Feeling ko tuloy out of curiosity lang ng GMA production staff kaya may isinali sa Igoy sa SS.

    Rating ata… hmmm.. what do you think? Of course, curiousity = higher ratings.

  2. Hi Betelnut,
    Kaya nga biglang bumaba ang tingin ko sa GMA eh. I thought it was the better station in terms of being sensitive to the media portrayals of indigenous peoples but mukhang hindi pala.

    Curiosity may have been an element in including Igorots but I don’t think it is the reason why Marky made it. He is, after all, really talented 🙂

  3. Hindi naman sa kinukuwestyon ko yung talents ni Marky o ni Paolo(na hindi nanalo..hehehe… biro lang). Pero parang ginamit lang nila ang mga Igoys teenagers(Lalo na si marky) para sa ratings.

    Naalala ko tuloy yung ad ng WOWPhilippines sa RPN 9. They refered to the Ifugaos as “primitive”. Grabe talaga. Kung primitive ang Ifugaos dahil “natives” sila, e di siguro “primitive” din mga Tagalog, Bisaya since many thousand years ago, they migrated here too, like us.

    Minsan di na rin ako nagrereact ng masama kapag nakakabasa ako ng di magandang impression ng mga foreigners sa mga Pinoys. Pinoys tend to be horrible to one another. Sad, sad…

  4. Hi Betelnut,
    Wasn’t aware of that ad but that really is something. Is it produced by the gov’t? Kasi di ba Wow Philippines is this gov’t tourism program? So walang pagkakaiba ang gov’t agencies sa private media in terms of putting us down. Thanks again.

  5. Yeah, RPN 9 ko nakita yun.

    Grabeh talaga. They’re not sensitive to the igorots.

    They’re refering to how “majestic” the Banaue Rice terraces is pero biglang ang adjective pangdesccribe sa mga taga-Ifugao eh “primitive”.

    It seems the government is furtherly promoting the “primitive” image stereotype rather than destroying the myth.

  6. Hi Betelnut,
    Ewan ko ba sa ibang tao. They appropriate our achievements as a people but then demean us. That “majestic”/”primitive” thingy at RPN-9 reminds me of someone who was oh so proud telling a foreigner about the Banaue Rice Terraces being a grand Philippine achievement but who then went on to demean the actual people who built them. Makes me mad.

  7. Dear everyone,

    Thanks for all your blogs and comments, now i have a career. This is to inform you and to ask permission from you all to use some of your comments for my paper on “Igorots on Igorot on the Internet” in Philippine and international conferences.

    Based on my readings of your posts, I think that the Igorot agenda now is “ethnic cleansing” – cleansing the identity of its negative connotations. I think though that it is quite a gignatic task considering that the word has at least 300 years of history, if Scott’s essay is the basis. Come to think of it, Igorot had long been rejected as a scientific category. Anyway we know deep in hearts who we really are and, according to Zenaida Pawid, it is other people’s problem what they think about us.

    Of course the media are really a lot to be blamed. But what do we expect from the media? Just business.

    Government program/agencies really did nothing but to “other” us further. The integration programs enabled us to integrate ourselves into mainstream society, including show business now (StarStruck: THe Igorot Invasion of the Nation!!!), but obviously, it should have been the larger society that should have had integration programs in relation to minor ethno-linguitsic groups like us.

    Anyway, other people really are envious because they are just generic Filipinos and don’t have an “exotic” ethnic identity, he he.

    So keep on the discussions. They make the mind young.


  8. Hi Ivadoyak,
    You are welcome to use the blog posts and whatever you read in the comments for your paper. But make sure you quote the authors (meaning me and the commenters) when you do use what you get here. And if you make money making a career out of using the materials here, then give us 30% from your profit hehehe.

    I understand what you mean when you suggested “ethnic cleansing” but I’m not sure its the appropriate label for what we are trying to do here mainly because the term is primarily associated with dominant groups or the majority trying to kill minorities/ethnics such as what happened in the former Yugoslavia and I think in Rwanda (Tutsis killing Hutus and the other way around). If not for this really tragic history behind the term “ethnic cleansing”, siguro I would not be uncomfortable using it.

    I agree, of course, that what we are trying to do is to help erase the negative connotations about our ethnic backgrounds. As you said, it is a really gigantic task it is a task that needs to be done by Igorots themselves.

    Thanks for joining us and for sharing your insights. We hope that you will continue to join us in the discussions we have here 🙂

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