“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
― Nora Ephron
It has always been an issue that women are powerless beings. They are often called the “submissive” while men are the “dominant” In the book Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, Anastasia Steele changed Christian Grey’s perception on women as his submissive and that women are objects for pleasure. Anastasia was successful in breaking the taboo that women are just mere followers of men.
In the early Philippine Cinema, women were portrayed to be powerless individuals too. In the film, Tinimbang Ngunit Kulang (Weighed But Found Wanting) by Lino Brocka on the year 1974, Kuala (Lolita Rodriguez) went insane because Cesar (Eddie Garcia) forced to abort their child. On the scene when Kuala was undergoing the process of abortion with the folk healer, you will see that Cesar covers her mouth to prevent her from shouting, he also hold a tight grip on Kuala’s hands that hinders her from escaping the process. With the non-verbal cues presented, it was a clear portrayal that a woman is a powerless and weak individual on the film.
After the abortion, Kuala went insane. It is a symbol that women are emotionally weak because Kuala was not able to handle the loss of her child. Kuala then met Betong Ketong (Mario O’Hara) who then became the father of their child.
According to Genderlect Theory of Conmunication, there is a difference between the two genders. Women seek connection, men seek status. This may be the reason why we can’t find women as abusing, arrogant and as superior as men on films. Women on Philippine films are often the peacemaker. If you happen to see a film that has a scene of gang war, there is always a woman beside the antagonist male character who will speak sweetly and convince him to keep calm and chill.
Darna, who is a heroine in the Pinoy comics of Mars Ravelo lived during the 1940s is a perfect example how the image of women changed – from being powerless to superheroine. Darna’s mission is to fight and keep the peace in the community. She fought criminals and other villains.
Though women attracts male audiences because of the so called “woman’s body power” Darna’s birth gave the Filipino movie goers a new side of women when she had her first action flight in 1951 in Fernando Poe Senior’s Royal films production- “DARNA”