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Ponderings on Althusser and the Philippines

Updated on May 11, 2017

We were born with ideological frameworks, handed down to us by our parents before receiving education. We tended to disobey and question said ideologies but after entering the system; we are given reasons why it must be followed and why it is right, with very little discussion on how these ideas could be wrong or how there are other ideologies that one can believe in. Take for example the implementation of “proper” clothing for girls. I remember, that as a child and a pre-teen, I enjoyed wearing clothes like halters and skirts with high heels. I wore them not because I felt the need to be attractive or noticed but simply because I liked them but the principal thought I wore it to get attention, I remember her even saying that I didn’t need to wear clothes like those to feel good and that they were inappropriate. Back then I didn’t question her on why said articles of clothing were inappropriate, they just were because as she said; if I wanted to be respected then I must respect myself first plus there was also the embarrassment of being singled out. It was in college when I realized that her truth or my school’s truth wasn’t my truth. There was nothing inappropriate about what I wore and I wasn’t disrespecting myself, in fact I think I loved myself then to be able to wear those kinds of clothes with confidence but it was given to me as a hard truth, that a woman must cover her body lest a man look upon her the wrong way. As a child that knew very little about the world, there was no other truth but the one’s taught to me by authority. This idea continues in our country, keeping women submissive to the patriarchy and in line with the ideologies of the ruling class.

If we were looking at the religious ideology in the Philippine setting then it is quite obvious that the church isn’t a tool of the ruling class but rather a ruling class itself. The Church isn’t against promoting and ingraining its own ideologies into the masses, often successfully taking power from the political ruling class and interfering with the management of the country. They hold such sway over the Filipino people that they divided it between those for the politicians and those for the religious. Most citizens would believe anything their religious leaders would say while it would take some convincing for them to accept what a politician is saying, wit due reason of course, but long story short; The Church is a powerhouse onto itself, it even has its own country. It is an authority with a huge following, who are willing to go to great lengths to allow its truths to materialize.

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