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The Husband

The role of the Filipino husband is mainly that of breadwinner. This is the only duty he is really expected to fulfill and his performance in this area is what determines his success or failure as a husband (and a father). A husband who has a mistress or querida is accepted and tolerated by society if he can support both his wife and mistress. A man who can support two or more families is regarded with amazement and admiration, not disgust, and earns a reputation for being macho. However, the playboy who goes around getting girls into trouble and then leaving them to fend for themselves is considered irresponsible and a coward.

In A Study of Psychopathology, Dr Lapuz says: The usual cultural norm for masculinity is firstly, the ability to perform sexual intercourse and secondly, freedom from marital controls in a man's activities. The first criterion is measured by the number of children a man has, which is why large families are preferred in the Philippines. A large number of offspring is evidence of a man's virility. It also explains why a man will have children by his mistress.

The second norm is one that every Filipino husband strives to give an impression of, for fear of being called under the saya-henpecked. This threat is real because Filipino wives are very dominant and, though they may appear quiet and submissive before others, are very skilful in manipulating their husbands to get what they want. Because the wife runs the household, she considers it her territory and the husband does not have much say in household issues. He gives his opinion only when consulted and even then his recommendations may not be followed. Thus, the Filipino husband concentrates on being a good provider for his wife and children.

 

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