Tigasin

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Tiga-saing, Tiga-laba, Tiga-linis (TIGASIN) – basically a house husband (Filipinos also call it ‘houseband’). These are typical activities of husbands whose wives are in the workforce, a succinct example of gender role reversal, which turns gender stratification upside down.

As hard as it may seem, the Philippines is a patriarchal society that dates its origin in the Spanish era, as evidenced by the term ‘padre de pamilya’ pertaining to the head of the family. With this hard-core belief come the different roles and responsibilities assumed by the ‘man’ in the house, such as the decision-maker, the provider, the strongest, among others. This introduces the idea of gender stratification whereby men are on top of the strata who hold dominion over the lower caste members. In this case, a man who is considered the head of the family but exercising the roles and responsibilities of a woman will seem unacceptable, more or less questionable. For instance, a ‘man’ becomes questionable if he cooks for the family (tiga-saing) if he does the laundry (tiga-laba), if he cleans the house (tiga-linis), etcetera – a TIGASIN (a house husband). I remember my mother judging one of our neighbors in the province whose wife was working abroad. My mother would tell us: “Tignan ninyo iyan, napakatamad. Hinahayaan niya ang kaniyang asawa na magtrabaho.” In retrospect, my mother’s mindset subscribes to the traditional notion of gender roles, of gender stratification.

The aforementioned example is still typical in the Philippines. A dad who is ‘TIGASIN’ is still frowned upon, which is impractical, especially in these trying times. If the wife can earn more than the husband, why would she stay home and take care of the household? In this day and age without ego or gender stratification, I believe that being practical to survive is better than believing in a tale (gender stratification) as old as time.

By: Joseph B. Quinto

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