While we continue to celebrate the idea that we are the social media capital of the Philippines, the pitfalls of being unprepared for it are becoming more and more obvious.
This includes but is not limited to the youth unthinkingly over-sharing their lives with strangers; there’s that gap that grows bigger when we speak of access to gadgets and technology, never mind that a majority of Filipinos would purportedly spend on mobile phones.
These are conversations we should be having, yes? But media is the one that justifies the pettiest of the petty issues that come out of social media, often refusing to take a stand for what is right and wrong, and further blurring the lines between the two.
Case #1: Dingdong VS the hashtag
When I heard Vice Governor of Siquijor Dingdong Avanzado complaining about an Isabelle Daza hashtag, my first reaction was: that girl’s pretty consistent isn’t she?
She is after all the same girl who, in November 2013—so soon after Typhoon Yolanda hit—dared compare dieting with the survival of Yolanda victims. She photographed her six bottles of some detox drink and captioned it: “my little friends this morning—if people in Ormoc and Tacloban can last 2 to 3 days without food and shelter, I better be able to do one day of this yummy fruit and veggie detox.” (@isabelledaza)
She has since deleted this post. As she has also since apologized to the people of Siquijor for the misunderstanding—the one that Vice Governor Avanzado had gotten some media mileage for.
This time around though I’m on Daza’s side. Because these were photographs of Daza and her travel companions (apparently her cousins) in Siquijor, with captions that would only be offensive to the overly sensitive—if not the most clueless.
The first IG post is a selfie with a cousin captioned “We’re here to insta! #SiquiWhores.” The other photo is a backshot of two bikini-clad girls sitting in front of the sea, captioned simply: “SiquiHOES.”
I thought that the hashtags were hilarious, and so witty. I knew of course that Daza was referring to whoever were in those photographs, and as there were no images at all of people from Siquijor, it was clear that it was a joke between her and her companions. Anyone who watches American culture after all would know that celebrities have reclaimed the word “whore” by using it to refer to themselves—a refusal to imagine the tag to be negative, and insist instead that we can turn the stereotype on its head.
Ah, but the Vice Governor would have none of it, and I do wonder if he even looked at the photographs for some context. That would’ve shown him what Daza meant with the hashtag, which would in turn have kept him from revealing that he has no idea how hashtags work.
It was also telling that he had an issue with #SiquiWhores, but not #siquiHOES. This reveals how out of touch our politicians are with the changing language and culture of the world, within and beyond social media.
How embarrassing for a politician called Dingdong.
Case #2: Kris versus the pakialamera
One expects celebrities and politicians to get all defensive with fans and followers who turn out to be nosier than expected, asking questions that are about their personal lives instead of about their work.
That is, unless your career as celebrity was created on a whole lot of oversharing, of telling the world about your personal life, which by the way is the one thing that you’ve always had going for you.
This is why Kris Aquino’s tirade against an Instagram follower was utterly surprising; I also can’t believe how media tended to side with her on this one. It seemed valid: after Aquino talked about being sick and being unable to accompany his son to some awards night, a IG follower suggested that she should’ve sent James Yap to go with Bimby to the ceremony, instead of sending the boy off with her friends.
Aquino would have none of it. In a long rant she explained how she has pushed for a better relationship between her son and his father, and that she should not be told how to handle things. And then: “And if you will continue to make pakialam sa buhay pamilya namin, please enclose address & contact details, kasi siguro sa super sawsaw mo, mag contribute ka na rin sa allowance & milk money ng Anak namin para naman you put your money where your mouth is.”
I LOL’d. This is the same woman who has spent much of her TV career “making pakialam” people’s lives via intrusive questions in talk shows. The same woman who “makes pakialam” people’s lives for a living, as she endorses every product imaginable and tells the public: this product is what YOU need in your life!
This is the same woman who was oversharing before social media, the talentless sushal heredera that pre-dates Paris Hilton and the Kardashians. This is a woman who has built a career on her personal life, including invoking her lineage, using her hacienda, having her (ex)husband and sons with her for product endorsements.
How hilarious that she thinks we don’t have a right to make pakialam her personal life, since she has always made kuwento about it. The IG follower actually put Kris in her place when she replied to the rant and said something like: you’re on TV every day, sharing your personal life. This is what you get.
Indeed. Pakialamera: 100 points. Aquino: zero.