Maggie Wilson’s business partner Tim Connor seems to have taken in all the vitriol Wilson faced during her tumultuous and very public split with Victor Consunji.
On his Instagram Story last Oct. 14, the entrepreneur wrote that he’s been asked multiple times if he would raise children in the Philippines, and notes that this is a question typically asked to Filipinas living abroad or have non-Filipino answers.
His response? “ABSOLUTELY not! (sic).”
After “seeing what Maggie Wilson has gone through,” he says, he’s realized that men here act as if they have “free will to treat women like absolute garbage with minimal rights, almost as though they are second class citizens.” He says that there are laws that allow men to file cases against women but not the other way around, and that Wilson is fortunate enough to have access to lawyers, support, and multi-residencies, which are resources that most Filipinas don’t have.
He’s observed “this general passive toxic macho syndrome and under-representation of women across leadership positions,” he says, and that change is needed to bring the Philippines into the modern era.
However, he also notes that he’s not “talking about some of the woke women’s rights movements we have witnessed across the West,” and that he sees “green shoots from the BBM administration.” So close!
This patriarchal country does suffer from a very real problem with misogyny and sexism. That’s so real. Our laws are anti-women. Divorce, which will be especially helpful to women, isn’t even legalized here yet. The marry your rapist law, which exonerates rapists if they marry their victim, is present in the Philippines as a provision in the Anti-Rape Law. The provision has still not been repealed. It specifically characterizes the rapist as “the legal husband who is the offender,” and “the wife as the offended party.”
But Connor’s statement is hampered by the messaging. It’s true that sexism is real, but it’s more than a little off to make that a point about the country being backwards. Sexism is a global problem—and in truth, the local women’s movement has done so much in pushing for progressive laws. It’s making me think about first world countries propping themselves up as progressive when they have just as big skeletons in their closets or the progressive policies they’ve just enacted were already in place in the global south. It’s like how New Zealand was touted as the first country in the world to have paid leave after miscarriages when it approved the legislation in 2021, when both the Philippines and India already had that. (New Zealand offers three days, while the Philippines offers 60.) It’s also worth noting how much this misogyny and “backwardness” is the product of colonization.
We’re not exactly expecting a British-Thai man to understand the Philippine women’s movement, or the collective struggle against misogyny. Still, it’s just a little disappointing that it’s framed as a conversation of how the country isn’t progressive, instead of how to support the movement to fight the patriarchy or acknowledging the women and queer people at the forefront of the battle.
“I get sick of hearing, ‘This is just how the Philippines operates!’ (Yes, it probably did in the 1940s, but it shouldn’t in 2022!),” Connor wrote. So are we!
Photo by Charlein Gracia on Unsplash
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