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CUENCA, LERCY G. Bata, Bata, Paano Ka Ginawa?

Section 4CA2

Bata, Bata, Paano ka Ginawa? (1998) is about a mother, Lea Bustamante (Vilma Santos) who ignores the societys rules and norms about women to enjoy a life of her own principles. She stood up for what she believes and has her own sense of what is right. Lea, a womens rights activist, has two children with two different fathers. Raffy (Ariel Rivera), the father of her son Ogie (Carlo Aquino), left her when they didnt agree on their career options. Raffy went back to the Philippines with his new wife who is pregnant and went to see Ogie during weekdays. Ding (Albert Martinez), the father of Maya (Serena Dalrymple), was the other man whom Lea had extramarital relationship. Ding served as the father of Ogie though sometimes he tells people that Ogie is his nephew. Later on, Ding also left Lea for another woman whom he married. Being a single mother, Lea is stuck to provide for her children all their material needs and guidance. If we analyze the films central character, Lea Bustamante, we may say that she has the following needs: to provide for her children, to be loved by a man who can meet her soul (during sexual intercourse) and to fulfill her womanhood. Her ego made her an strong woman who can stand up for her choices and beliefs while her superego has made her choose whats right for her individuality and for her children. Apparently, her choices were influenced by how she witnessed several victims of the ideologies of a sexist society. We can cite a situation where Leas superego has dictated her to decide in some situations such as when she chose her career over her husband, when she allowed her children to choose between her and their father and when she thought of being strong even shes near to becoming a single-mother.

Our culture has dictated us how a woman should be. Also, it is our culture which makes us put standards on what is a good woman. From the clothes, speech, action and everything that a woman does, her womanhood is being rated and surveyed by the society. Therefore, as a standard pattern of behavior, a woman must act in accordance to the expectations of the people around her. Every woman submits to the dictates of her culture, except Lea Bustamante. Lea values her womanhood and motherhood so much that it came to the point of losing her lovers. Raffy, her husband, asked her to come with him to Surigao for them to be together even if Raffy works. Since Lea wants to preserve her career, she didnt agree though this may mean that they will be separated. Lea insisted that what is most important to her is her growth as a woman, her self-worth. She wants to have an identity of her own. She is not the submissive type of wife who will just agree with everything that her husband commands her. Lea wants to prove to everyone that she can stand on her own and is capable of supporting her children although her husbands left her. In this film, the concept of phallocentrism was tackled through several issues. Lea has once said Ang tingin ng mga lalaki sa ari nila baril. Phallocentrism or the power of the penis resulted in this man-centered society where people prefer the masculine traits rather than the feminine ones. Also, because of this phallocentric society, men have become the surveyors of womens traits. In our culture, a family is patriarchal. The father, being a male, is the most powerful member of the family. A man has the power in every aspect of the society. Moreover, he is the breadwinner and he has the say to every decision of his family members. Therefore, the phallocentric society looked down at women for being passive, submissive, weak and objects of desire. On the other hand, the phallocentric society adores men for being active and powerful.

The central character in this film debunked phallocentrism. Lea doesnt believe that women are inferior just because they lack the penis which is associated with power. She is not passive; rather she makes the majority of decisions in her family. As opposed to phallocentrism, she is not the object of desire. More often than not, she is the one who desires men. Lea even told her friend that the only man whom she doesnt desire is her father. Also, she is not submissive for she believes survival without a husband is possible. Indeed, Lea has her own sense of what is the true womanhood and motherhood. The belief that gender is performative was also debunked by Lea in the film. She proved that a woman can become a man in terms of her capabilities. In our society, the man is expected to be the provider in the family. Lea has proved that she can be both the father and the mother by being the breadwinner of the family. She worked to provide for her children, although her career has resulted into conflicts with her children and their fathers. The cultural oppression of women was also tackled in the film. Lea asked her friend Kapag inamin ba ng babae na gusto niya magpa-ganon, puta na ba siya?. In our culture, if a woman expresses her desire for sex she is already immoral and indecent. Moreover, women are also psychologically oppressed so they are not recognized into their own individuality, but because Lea has her own sense of womanhood, she worked for her own identity. Lea Bustamante, as the central character, is a proof that the role of women in the film is reconstructed. She is the heroine and although there are several scenes of emotional outbursts, the audience will still look at Lea as a strong woman who rejected the societys dictates to enjoy a life of her own principles.