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A writer for CLM Magazine and CLM Social Pages, Achelle is also an independent blogger, giving her two cents on personal and social issues from an educated Filipina's point of view, especially those relating to love and relationships. She has a knack for tackling issues from unique angles that are often left unexplored, posing questions that move and challenge readers to view a certain issue from a wholly different perspective. Achelle is happily engaged to her childhood sweetheart and is currently based in the Philippines. Achelle's writing is a delight to read and highly enlightening, entertaining and thought provoking. You're going to see lots of her on our Emagazine, Blogs, Social Pages and Hubs. Enjoy
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Reflections Upon An Ugly Reality: Breaking Stereotypes    

By Achelle Vinzon
2146 Views | 4 Comments | 3/2/2013 3:58:28 PM

The ugly and sad reality is, this so-called cultural prostitution does exist in the country and has become such a pervasive social custom that it has evolved into a cultural signifier for the country and marked Filipinas with a social stigma in the international community, particularly in the online dating industry. Another reality, however, is that it is but a sub-culture among many other sub-cultures in the country. The fact that Filipinas who belong in this sub-culture display very aggressive behaviors to attain their goals, combined with the fact that other Filipinas in other sub-cultures try to avoid being grouped together with their ill-behaved sisters, only solidify their characterization of the Filipina stereotype.

Here are a few other, lesser known but not uncommon types of interactions/relationships between Filipinas from other Philippine sub-cultures and foreign men. These are real people who belong in my inner and outer social circles, and I am only relaying the facts of their respective situations and the distinct impressions I got from them from my communications with them.

Case 1. A friend of mine, who has successfully climbed the corporate ladder and is now an operations manager for a big American company with operations here in the Philippines, has had her share of failed relationships with Filipinos. She dated an American for about a year and, while it didn’t work out, she realized American men suited her more. Currently, she’s in a long-distance relationship with a guy from the U.S. and things are looking really good. Marriage may actually be in the offing. In this case, the opportunity for a cross-cultural relationship presented itself; it was not actively pursued.

Case 2. I used to work with an expat, with whom I became very good friends. He was a really decent guy and an even more decent human being. He was dating a Filipina who came from a well-to-do family. He seemed very happy with her, but I got the impression that the girl had latched on to him for the perceived prominent status the relationship gave her. They have been together for many years now and I have become convinced that there’s real love between the two of them. In this instance, the Filipina may have taken advantage of the opportunity for a cross-cultural relationship when it presented itself, but it was not out of desperation and, while she may have been attracted by the perceived prestige, she was not out to milk the relationship for all it’s worth.

Case 3. When I worked for a U.S.-based promotional products company, which had operations here in the country, I always noticed a female colleague staying for a few more hours at the office after her shift. I found out later on that she chatted online with foreign men. She was a single mom and was doing really well for herself, earning more than enough money so that she and her kids were able to live a very comfortable life. But like my other friend, she also preferred foreign men over Filipinos. In this instance, the Filipina actively pursued meeting foreign men, but while she may want a cross-cultural relationship because she believes it will be an opportunity for an even better life, she’s still self-reliant and is honestly looking for love.

There are a lot of educated, hard-working, and honest Filipinas who prefer foreign men as partners because they find a lot of western traits more desirable than Filipino or Asian traits. I know of numerous other Filipinas who work and live abroad and are now with foreign men. They are well-educated, in fact a lot of them have college degrees, and they have very stable careers. They chose to work abroad because they believed opportunities there were much better; needless to say, their main concern was securing a good future for themselves and their family through hard work and by taking advantage of the opportunities made available to them. Being in a relationship with foreign men was not a means to an end, but was merely a likely outcome of their specific circumstances, much like how traditional relationships typically form.

In our country, however, Filipinas that are usually seen in the arms of foreign men, especially in tourist spots in the archipelago, are either one of two types: prostitutes or the desperate and opportunistic ones who want a foreign boyfriend or husband so they can elevate their status; for all intents and purposes, the latter are also “prostituting” themselves. They may have met these foreign men online and invited them to come over or they may frequent places where foreign men often go. In any case, it is the stigma already attached to such “associations” that actually make many of the educated and hard-working Filipinas, who are interested in foreign men as partners, to feel apprehensive about actively pursuing their desires. This is the same reason why some of these honest women would not be found on international online dating sites. They want to avoid being stereotyped.

Additionally, these other groups of Filipinas do believe that they can achieve a better quality of life, for themselves and their families, through honest means and their own hard work; reaching their goals by ensnaring foreign men in a relationship do not even cross their minds. A lot of them just focus on bettering themselves through higher levels of education, excelling in their chosen fields, or just making the most of the opportunities they have been given through good, old-fashioned perseverance.

As the cases I presented show, there are Filipinas out there whose interests in foreign men are genuinely motivated by the admiration they have for western traits, who also possess highly desirable traits that make them ideal life partners, and who are honestly looking for love. The way I see it, stigma or no stigma, stereotype or no stereotype, these Filipinas are also starting to realize that they can't let such perceptions prevent them from taking advantage of a very valuable avenue that can help them find love and happiness. As frustrated as a lot of foreign men have become with their experiences with Filipina frauds online, numerous honest Filipinas have also become increasingly frustrated with the backlash they have been suffering as a direct result of such behaviors. I do hope that foreign men out there won't completely write off all Filipinas as frauds; otherwise, they will miss out on their chance to meet and be with some of the most admirable and compassionate group of women in Asia.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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(Showing 1 to 4 of 4) 1
#2013-03-07 02:58:52 by bmccull @bmccull

Achelle, I think you are taking the stereotype of the Filipina scammer too personally. Western men know there are Filipina scammers but they also know that scammers come from every country.

In Canada, Filipina wives and girlfriends are thought of very highly! As you may know, many Filipinas come here to work in child care or nursing, and after a few years are able to achieve permanent residence. The prevailing view is that Filipinas are hard working and loyal.

#2013-03-07 15:25:26 by AchelleVinzons @AchelleVinzons

@bmccull Hello again and thank you for your feedback. :) I'm not taking this particular issue personally at all, although I can see how you may have come to that conclusion. I simply wanted to argue a point as exhaustively as I could. And it was an issue that needed to be acknowledged, especially as how it was relevant to international online dating, which this site is all about.

The number of decent, respectable, honest, and hardworking Filipinas all over the world far outnumber those who are, well, not. And I believe they are a truer representation of who we really are as a people. I do appreciate the fact that many foreigners are also aware of this, as I have seen from the comments I have been getting on my previous blogs.

#2013-11-27 14:13:10 by Barry1 @Barry1

@AchelleVinzons .

One pressing question that needs to be answered though is this.

Why is the word "Filipina" not spelt "Philipina".

Or conversely, why is the Philippines not spelt, "Filippines"?

#2013-11-27 17:47:58 by AchelleVinzons @AchelleVinzons

"Philippines" is the English equivalent of "Pilipinas," the name of our country in the local tongue. We used to refer to ourselves as "Pilipino/a" (adding the word "mga" to make it plural in the local language). Later on (after the Americans came and went) the letter "F" was integrated into our alphabet (which is basically the same as the English alphabet except for some letters), and the name of our race was also given an English equivalent, with the letter "F" simply replacing the letter "P." The change wasn't applied to the name of our country as, I'm assuming, the English equivalent has been around much longer.

That was a very interesting question, and I will look into it more deeply. :) The evolution of our language is a very convoluted one, unfortunately. I hope my answer for now is satisfactory.

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