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The Spinster


The Filipino spinster or matandang dalaga is not a liberated individual, free from responsibilities. Although she does not have her own family of procreation (husband and children), she is still tied to her family of orientation (parents, brothers, and sisters, aunts, uncles, ect.), and she has duties and obligations of them. She may live with one of her brothers or sisters, serving them in the form of assisting in household management, or she may continue to live with her parents, serving them looking after them in their old age. There is also position set aside for her in her local church - she is in charge of its upkeep and maintenance. Hence she has a definite role in the family and society. In this way she feels she 'belongs' to someone and her family keeps her from getting lonely.

There is some social stigma attached to spinsters, though. Because of the great emphasis attached to getting married and having children, most Filipinos do not understand how a women can be over 30 or 35 and still be unmarried. The only reason they can think of is that she did not receive any offers. Hence the matandang dalaga is seen as someone who was' left on the shelf'.

Often the Filipina will be playing any number of the above roles at the same time and these ease with which she moves from one to the other as the situations for them arise is truly a skill she must be credited with. They key to it all is to always think' Family First.'

One other role assumed by Filipino women is that of keeper of family virtues. Older Filipinas consider it their duty to keep the family's reputation in good stead and thus have no qualms about giving their opinions on what is right and wrong regarding behavior, attitudes, quarrels and conflicts which concern or directly reflect on the family. Through them, deviant behavior is controlled and curtailed via direct confrontations and/or intermediaries.

Finally, a note on the Filipina's remarkable skill as an entrepreneur, Almost every Filipino wife is involved in some business on the side -whether it be a small store, a kiosk selling drinks and snacks, selling paintings through friends and contacts, a cake shop or perhaps accepting orders at home, selling PXgoods, etc wha's more, doing very well at it. Many big businesses are n by Filipino women. Filipinas figure prominently in the business world. To give some examples: the Philippine Women's University was founded by a Filipina and is still run efficiently by Filipinas; one of Makita's biggest and most popular department stores is owned and managed by a Filipina; the two biggest bookstore chains are owned and were built up by two Filipina sisters.

Aside from their ability in managing businesses, Filipinas can also be powerful figures in the background, holding true the saying Behind every great man is a woman. In the case of the Filipino it is a wife or a mother. The Filipina is very adept at social maneuvers and many a husband's career has been furthered through socialization channels, an aspect which is of unequalled importance in Philippine business. In the Philippines how well you perform at work is of less importance than how well you get along with others. So to get anywhere in the business world (or in any other area for that matter), it is imperative that you be a good socialize. That is where the Filipino wife and/or mother can be very useful and effective.


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