Duterte’s vagina monologue: Hope for the flowers
By Virginia J. Pasalo
SHOOT the vagina, ad infinitum. An inky business, cloudy and sinister as fake news. Trying very hard to focus attention on his anti-women remarks to draw attention away from more important matters such as the unprecedented foreign debt, Chinese investments, desecration of democratic institutions, violation of the Constitution, extra-judicial killings (EJKs) and corruption among his own men, and “owned” women. He needs a monologue deeper than a vagina.
Bite this gambit, and lose all your teeth. Bite the bullet instead. I mean biting in another sense, not something drastic, something that reconnects people like him, so contemptuous of strong women, to develop genuine appreciation and respect. He should at least understand how women bloom, in keeping with his love affair with China, where once, “letting a hundred flowers bloom”, became a national policy under Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong.
My friends say there is no hope in that direction, which brings to mind a book I read a very long time ago, “Hope for the Flowers”, an allegorical novel by Trina Paulus. It is a fable “partly about life, partly about revolution and lots about hope – for adults and others including caterpillars who can read”. It is about two caterpillars, Yellow and Stripe, who journeyed in search of meaning by attempting to climb to the top of a caterpillar pillar only to discover “another destiny.”
In the story, Stripe hatches from an egg and begins his life by eating the leaf around him. He realizes that there is more to life than just eating leaves, so he endeavors to reach the sky. In his search, he joins other caterpillars struggling to get up into the sky, stepping on each other to reach the top, where he also meets Yellow attempting to do the same. Yellow feels bad about having to “literally step on and climb over all the other caterpillars who are also trying to reach the top of the pillar.” They eventually decide to stop climbing and go back down the pillar. They live together for a while until Stripe’s curiosity and unrest overcome him and he decides that he must get to the top of the pillar. Stripe leaves Yellow focusing on his goal to reach the top, and eventually he succeeds. He finds nothing at the top and he has not reached the sky. All he sees is a panorama of other caterpillars stepping on each other. Meanwhile, Yellow continues to eat and spin a cocoon. Eventually, she emerges from the cocoon transformed into a butterfly and flies into the sky effortlessly. “She has found the real answer to the feeling that there must be more to life than eating leaves, and who caterpillars really are.” As she flew around the pillar, she saw Stripe descending, telling the other caterpillars, there is nothing at the top, which made them doubt his intentions. Yellow shows Stripe her empty cocoon, and he realizes, he has to spin his own cocoon. “Yellow waits for him. Stripe emerges transformed into a butterfly, and they fly off together.”
Yes, like Yellow and Stripe who found their destiny through their own struggles, there is a manifest destiny for women, and they do not need a Duterte monologue to awaken it. This is a potent bullet, a bullet women can begin to bite, under this oppressive regime.
her skin sings
feeling, smelling, hearing,
tasting, seeing, everything.
every pore becomes a door
opening, receiving, and closing
touched, before touching
she comes, she becomes.
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