In November 2015, the porn industry was shaken when one of its high-profile performers revealed a rape allegation in a now deleted series of tweets. Stoya had resorted to Twitter to share how her then on-screen and real-life partner, James Deen, paid no heed to her boundaries despite her attempts to stop him even with the use of their safe word.
For the longest time, “aesthetics” has been strongly identified only with works of art or with beauty. For generations Y and Z, the word has evolved to also encapsulate one’s own style and sense of identity. However, aesthetic appreciation is not confined to works of art, beauty, or style. We do experience aesthetic enjoyment e ven in that which the capitalist art collectors once fantasized to possess but couldn’t: “ungraspable” nature, as described by John Berger, in his explanation of the landscape genre in traditional oil painting in Ways of Seeing (1972).
In April 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte unveiled that at the heart of his economic blueprint is the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program. We were told to expect the continuation of New Clark City that houses the Clark International Airport, and the new smart business district. The Mega Manila Subway and the Mindanao Railway were also promised as transport initiatives to solve the mobility problems in our cities. These are but a few of the examples among the many infrastructure projects set to start during his administration. Hence, it is just rightful to dub President Duterte’s administration as the second golden age of infrastructure in the country, succeeding the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Such popularity echoed Ben Davis’s discussion in Art and Inequality (2013) where he presented reasons for the necessity of art fairs. It was a response of galleries and dealers to the pressure to compete with auction houses and to tap the global art market. Art collection, traditionally a domain of the elite, is brought nearer to the masses, in the aim to sell more especially work by emerging artists.
The exposés on these misogynistic subcultures continue when the Youth Against Sexual Harassment (YASH) revealed the art of “picking up”, or meeting women for the purpose of getting them into bed, being institutionalized by Pick-up Artist Academy. Claimed to be “Asia’s leading dating company”, it had 27,547 Facebook page followers and 11,220 group members also before the Academy’s accounts were deleted. In Sein “Smooth” Meneses’s guesting on The Sweet Life, he introduced the Academy as a school that teaches men “on how to have a value”. The Academy transforms men from being “nerdy-type guys” who don’t know how to talk to women, to confident pick-up artists who have a hundred percent success rate of winning their “target”. Neil Strauss’ The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists (2005) affirms the pick-up artistry’s philosophy of reverse psychology and of push and pull mind games to exude the air of mystery that traps the target into the “game”. Their seminars and workshops are eventually culminated in hands-on trainings in clubs and in malls. What Smooth did not disclose in the lifestyle television show was that they do observe the tradition of sharing their “field reports”, which include videos and photos of their dates and sexual intercourse with the target to the rest of the community. A thread is now circulating in Facebook and in Twitter that warns women that these pick-up artists are continuing their self-validation-seeking deeds through dating applications.
It is still growing. The work known as the quilt of solidarity, Weaving Our Unity, features contributions of 2x2 feet panels from various organizations, national minorities (NM), artists, and advocates, with construction methods varying from appliqué to silkscreens, digital prints to embroidery. According to a Sandugo flyer, the project is “a long-term cultural initiative that aims to consolidate support for the national minorities via creative expression.”
I could understand the difference in attitude between my two male friends: one was surrounded by more people schooled in gender sensitivity. That was when the question hit me: Could I be living in a society who fights for gender equality, yes, but not as all-inclusive as how it really should be?
Opisyal na lingguhang pahayagan ng mga mag-aaral ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas-Diliman