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The thing about being woke to sexism is that you start to see it everywhere: You hear it streaming out of of your male classmates’ mouths when they boast about their short-lived romances with women. You recognize it when your father mutters “babae siguro ‘to” whenever he encounters a slow driver on the road. You hear it from your favorite artists’ song lyrics that you used to love dancing to.

It’s difficult, especially when it’s someone like your father displaying such backward behavior. But nothing is as disappointing as when you hear it from elected government officials. These are the men—and some women—who are supposed to be running the country, and looking after its people. Basically, people whose salaries our taxes fund. Our employees.

A few days ago, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez openly admitted to having a girlfriend despite being married to his second wife. He admitted that he has many children out of wedlock. He even went as far as saying “Wag na tayo mag-plastikan, halos lahat naman may affair eh.”

Ugh, as though we couldn’t roll our eyes enough, allow us to remind you: This is the same man who crucified and shamed a very single Senator Leila de Lima for having had an affair with her driver, Ronnie Dayan; the very same man who approved the move to show de Lima’s alleged sex tape in Congress for everyone to see.

Of course, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was quick to defend Alvarez’s womanizing ways. “Sino bang walang kaligayahan,” he asked in defense of Alvarez.

But such defense doesn’t hold a single iota of credibility. We mean, didn’t the president admit to having two wives and two girlfriends? And wasn’t it the president who was too quick to call De Lima “immoral” after the single lady admitted to having a relationship with her driver?

There’s more: Duterte also once called on women to take back and forgive their womanizing husbands as long as they don’t have any sexually-transmitted disease, and was quick to add: “Pag babae ang nagloko, hiwalay na yan!’

Puhleeze. It’s so messed up that even in infidelity, men are often given a free pass, while women are deemed unforgivable. Why the double standards?

Cheating is cheating. It’s gross, it’s wrong, and it’s against the law.

So why is it that society makes excuses for a womanizing man—the wife probably didn’t satisfy him, didn’t keep him interested, or did not take care of him. How absurd is it that when it’s the men who cheat, somehow, people can still twist it and make it appear that it’s still the woman’s fault?

Meanwhile, women get judged and shamed for cheating in extreme lengths; people call her names, and offer no forgiveness.

Gender stereotypes play a big role in this messed up situation. Men are expected to want sex more than women, so even though these men are in committed relationships—or worse, married—they get whatever they want. And women, who are expected to be faithful to their men and to only have sexual intercourse with the man she marries, get scrutinized for the same mistake.

Admit it or not, we still live in a patriarchal world, where double standards that cater to men exist. Men enjoy a sense of entitlement, thinking that they can just sleep around even while being married because that’s just who they are. There they go again with that magical phrase they always use so they would not be held accountable for whatever they do: Boys will be boys.

They will declare cheating on national TV like it’s no big deal because they see the women they sleep with as mere scores; additional checked items on their long list of achievements. It’s almost as if they have this long standing competition of “who fucked the most?” and to these men, women are just mere tools in order to win this game. What losers, TBH.

To add insult to injury, they turn fuming mad and get so offended when they see women sleeping around like they do. Why? Is it because they think sex is only for them to enjoy?

This is what young people see when they hear an excuse as lame as the one Rep. Alvarez uttered: The reason why unfaithful cheaters are also the same men who shame and judge the women who do the same thing is not because they believe in the sanctity of marriage or that respect commitment. It’s because they believe that sleeping around is okay only when they’re the ones who do it.

Which brings us back to the basic: Cheating is cheating. Nobody deserves to get a free pass for it—not men, not women. Anybody who thinks it’s okay to cheat—or worse, it’s cool to do so—should know what a big loser s/he is. Nobody is above the law. Certainly not our lawmakers.

Illustrations: Madel Crudo

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