Human Rights

What Comes To Your Mind When You Hear The Word “Woman”?

What a way to celebrate Women’s Month.

I received a rather indignant email from Karl recently regarding a film premiere in the UP Film Institute in celebration of the Women’s Month. On March 8, which is the International Women’s Day, and the very day the women under Gabriela march from Welcome Rotonda to Plaza Miranda to denounce fellow-woman President Arroyo’s supposed anti-women policies, the UP Film Institute is scheduled to premiere “Seksing Pinay.”

The film, which is a montage of deleted / censored film splices of sex scenes from various films, is labeled a “welcome twist” to the Women’s Month celebration, says the institute’s media release. It says further:

“Narrated by Roy Alvarez, the unique big-screen engagement weaves together deleted footage from films topbilled by bold stars spanning three decades to examine the phenomenon of sex in the movies and the depiction of women in sex-oriented roles. Project director is Armando Reyes with consultant Cesar Aquino and editing supervisor Jeff de Vera. Screening is strictly for mature audiences. “

Karl, who is also a fledging filmmaker and was once at odds with some of the Film Institute’s officials over his thesis defense (it had nothing to do with the Institute; the officials were panelists in his thesis defense), likened “Seksing Pinay” to “Sex in Philippine Cinemas”, which came out commercially on DVD sometime last year. I saw bits of the latter myself (a copy of it was lying around in a place I was staying around last year) — “Sex in Philippine Cinemas” is likewise a montage of sex scenes from various films. They were not deleted or sensored scenes; just sex scenes.

Although its title sounds a bit like that of an academic paper (I half-expected a subtitle that reads: “A scholarly look at sex in cinema…” or something), the DVD is obviously made to titillate. Bold flicks during the 70s and the TF (Titillating films) during the 90s did just that, but at least they bothered to lace the sex with corny plots (e.g., a film called “Itlog” had an egg factory as its setting). “Sex in Philippine Cinema”, as well as “Seksing Pinay”, I presume gets rid of the plots and gets down to the business of titillating.

TFs and bold flicks were said to have thrived during repressive periods — horny people were less likely to be involved in politics and activism than sexually-mature ones. “Seksing Pinay” seems to be right along that grand old tradition of selling sex in movies. I do not have to say what an insult it is to women that such a film — if that indeed is what I assume it to be, for there is a slim chance it might really be an academic treatise on sex in cinema after all  — will be shown on Women’s Day itself.

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