There are things I could live my life without knowing, and one of them is Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged penis size.
This happened just days ago during a PDP-Laban campaign rally in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Duterte bragged about walking around naked in college, noting how he was “highly equipped.” He said, “Sa totoo lang, ang lalaki is measured by his character.” (Honestly, a man is measured by his character.) He then took a jab at men who look good, but allegedly have small penises—I guess that’s the “character” he was pertaining to.
This spree continued as Duterte mocked one of his critics, Apo Hiking Society singer Jim Paredes, who recently admitted to being in a “sex” video. The president, again, honed in on Paredes’ privates. “Jim Paredes says I’m immoral. He showed his penis [in a video], it’s small,” he said in a speech in Bacolod City. “These are the kind of people who criticize me. You learn what kind of people they are.”
Graphic mental imagery aside, this narrative reeks of toxic masculinity. Duterte is clearly using penis size as a measure of one’s manhood and competence. It’s the age-old stereotype that if a man isn’t “blessed,” he isn’t man enough. “The implications of these jokes are that the bigger someone’s penis is, the more aggressive and powerful—and thus, manlier—he is; the smaller someone’s penis is, the more impotent, weak, and powerless he is,” Everyday Feminism noted.
Bustle added that mocking a man’s penis size will make them insecure, especially in bed, thanks to the myth that “sex revolves around a penis and men’s sexual value lies in what their penises can do.” This is further cemented by performance-enhancer ads claiming a man isn’t complete if they can’t pleasure their partners.
No wonder Duterte is attacking his critics based on their penis sizes and looks (he called senatorial candidate Chel Diokno “ugly”) in a sad attempt to discredit their abilities. Also, in 2016, he implied how manly he was when he denied his impotence and defended his womanizing.
Though, is it really a surprise considering that we’re talking about Pres. Duterte—a man who’s told rape jokes and derogatory stories to assert his machismo? While Dutere is equating strength with penises, he’s also implied that vagina are signs of weakness. Case in point: Ordering soldiers to shoot female NPAs in the vagina.
It is degrading to see how our president is minimizing people to body parts. It continues the gross, sexist mentality this administration has propagated since Duterte took the position in 2016. Let this be an example of how not to act and what not to say when you are criticizing someone. Do not be like Duterte.
Art by Marian Hukom
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