Pia Cayetano: The Taylor Swift of Philippine Congress

pia cayetano

Pull up a chair and sit down, guys, gals, and nonbinary pals. Grab yourselves a string of pearls to clutch, a fainting pillow, or some smelling salts, because this post is gonna get ugly.

Yep, Kate’s talking politics.

(I understand that people don’t want to get political on their blogs, and they don’t want to see social justice issues on blogs that normally talk about travel, books, and food. I wanted that too. I wanted this to be a place of catharsis and distraction where I could get away from the total and utter shit-show that the Philippine government is right now; but I’m just so angry with Pia Cayetano, I have to get some things about her off my chest.)

Last March 18, She Talks Asia hosted a conference entitled “Every Girl Can”, celebrating female empowerment and gender equality. Included on the panel of speakers was former senator and current congresswoman Pia Cayetano, a known advocate of women’s and children’s rights. In particular, she has pushed for the passage of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, the Expanded Breastfeeding Promoting Act, and the Expanded Senior Citizens Act.

Her prolific career as a champion of women in Congress and her numerous assertions that she is a feminist led to some wondering why on earth she was still supporting President Rodrigo Duterte, who has made quite a number of controversial statements regarding women. Take note, this is the man pig who joked that “he should have been first” when an Australian missionary was raped and murdered in a prison riot, wolf-whistled at a female reporter during a press conference, and said that the Undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture had nice legs and that he was getting distracted, could she please close them?

Naturally, this question was posed to her during the conference.

Here’s a video of that particular interaction:

And in case you were too lazy to watch, here are some choice nuggets from Madame Pia “Taylor Swift” Cayetano:

  • “If you have guy barkadas—and I have a lot—in the Senate…in the back room… they’re just a bunch of boys. And I’m one of the boys. And they talk about their boy things and that’s how boys are.”
  • “What I tell people is that you have to know what’s appropriate to say when and where. And that’s why even as a girl with those boys, I can’t be so maarte naman and keep on saying, ‘Don’t say that.’ I’ll be like a manang.”

Tangina bes, gaguhan ba ‘to?

“That’s how boys are.” Do we need to rehash this? No, goddammit, “boys will not be boys”. Boys will be held accountable for their actions, just like everybody else. This kind of mentality – especially in parents, which Pia Cayetano is, mind you – is what creates men like Brock Turner. It’s what creates rape culture. It’s what creates this sense of entitlement in the men who catcall and sexually harass women in the street, the feeling that they deserve to touch women’s bodies, the urge to make women uncomfortable.

“I can’t be so maarte naman and keep on saying, ‘Don’t say that.’ I’ll be like a manang.” Well, I’m so fucking glad that your priority is to preserve men’s feelings and making sure that you’re seen as a “cool girl” rather than ensuring safety and respect for women. This statement of hers brings to mind Amy Dunne’s “cool girl” rant from the book Gone Girl.

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Way to insult men there by the way, Ms. I’m-Only-a-Feminist-When-it-Gets-Me-Votes. “…and they talk about their boy things and that’s how boys are.” Really? Really? Because no man I know makes jokes the way Duterte does.

My father would not make a rape joke. My brother would never think to wolf-whistle at any girl, not one who was skimpily-dressed and walking down the street, and certainly not in a professional situation. My boyfriend would never tell a woman that he was getting distracted by her legs. The men in my life are respectful and polite, and should they slip up and say something misogynistic or sexist, I wouldn’t worry about being seen as maarte or manang because a) I don’t give a fuck about hurt feelings, not when you’re perpetuating centuries of sexism and the oppression of women; and b) the men in my life wouldn’t think of it as being maarte or manang in the first place because they are human beings capable of sensitivity and remorse and recognizing that what they did was wrong.

Pia, baka sadyang kadiri lang talaga yung mga lalake na kilala mo noh.

(Pia, maybe the men you know are just disgusting.)

What makes it twice as appalling is that these statements are coming from someone who claims to champion women and women’s rights. What part of being a champion for women is telling them that they shouldn’t call out inappropriate behavior? That they have to be understanding? That they need to just smile and nod and be cool?  That boys will be boys?

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FUCK. NO.

I reject you, Pia Cayetano. Wholeheartedly and utterly. I reject you as a feminist. I reject you as a representative of women. You don’t represent me. You don’t stand for me. You don’t stand for rape victims, for victims of sexual harassment, for women who have to keep quiet despite their discomfort and unease. You stand for “locker room talk”. You stand for “boys will be boys”. You stand for rape culture. You stand for enabling the perpetuation of sexism and misogyny. You stand for men like Brock Turner and Donald Trump. You stand for your family’s alliance with Duterte. You stand for your political leanings and your personal agenda.

I reject you and your faux feminism, which you only bring out when it’s convenient for you. Go sit down with Taylor Swift.

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5 thoughts on “Pia Cayetano: The Taylor Swift of Philippine Congress

  1. Strong words you got here Kate. I was taken aback by some words..yes, the swearing. But as I read through, I realized you were just expressing your frustration on Madam Senator. As always, I like your blunt honesty in your blogs. I would say these is the civilized version of Mocha Uson’s rants against againts VP Robredo. If perhaps she had been a little more civilized, and chosen her words carefully, I would have understood her point. But all she knew was the p***** i**. Her mouth was wreaking with trash. She couldn’t even get her argument straight. Tough you were swearing a few times, at least I get your point. No sugar-coating, just pure honest views, the more educated way.

    Like

    1. I apologize if you were taken aback by the swearing! Generally, I try not to, but I thought, hey – this post is already about my frustrations, might as well let it all out, right?

      I definitely agree with you about ranting in a civilized way. Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with swearing when in the heat of the moment, but only as long as that swearing is accompanied by facts and logical arguments. When the swearing is just for shock value and there’s nothing of substance to be heard, then you’re definitely right about it being trash.

      Thank you for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True. Sometimes, you just let it all out. And besides, yours is not the all nonsense p***** i**. I can set aside the form (swearing), as long as there is substance (point and logical argument). And you have the latter, which is more relevant the former.

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  2. Wow youre a really good writer! Your points are very clear for a “rant” post? Excuse me if I did not use the right word. I didn’t realize na boy pleaser pala si taylor swift up until this post cus I actually love taylor i’m sorry, kasannga ko ang mga kanta niya sa pagmomove on. Haha. Little as I know about politics, I adore Risa Hontiveros for advocating the rh bill and women’s health and Pia Cayetano is not on my radar.

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    1. You’re right, this was a rant post hehe 😂 TBH tho, I actually like Taylor Swift’s music! Kaso her attitude towards feminism is *so* annoying, it’s basically feminism only when it makes her seem cool and gets her good publicity 🙄

      Risa Hontiveros is my current political idol! She supports women’s initiatives and she champions both the Anti Discrimination Bill and the Mental Health Bill ❤️

      Like

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