Can’t hold us down

If you look back in history it’s a common double standard of society
The guy gets all the glory the more he can score
While the girl can do the same yet you call her a whore
I don’t understand why it’s OK,
The guy can get away with it, the girl gets name

Can’t hold us down – Christina Aguillera


This song came into mind right after I read Persida Acosta’s statement on adultery and concubinage on the news:

“Yung sa issue ng adultery and concubinage ang aking patakaran pa rin ay dapat mas mahigpit sa babae kesa sa lalake dahil ang babae ang ilaw ng tahanan,” Acosta said when asked by JBC member Jose Mejia on which laws she believes are partial to either sex. 

“Kapag nawasak ang tahanan, nagloko ang babae, wala na.  Kapag ang lalake ang nagloko, ang babae ay matatag, siya ang ilaw, buhay pa ang tahanan. So para sa akin OK lang na iyan pa rin ang batas mas mahigpit sa kababaihan sa adultery at ‘di masyadong mahigpit sa concubinage,” she added. 

Acosta was undergoing a public interview as part of her application to the post of SC associate justice.

Under Article 333 of the Revised Penal Code, a wife can be convicted of the crime of adultery for a single act of sexual intercourse with a man who is not her husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of knowing her to be married, even if the marriage be subsequently declared void.  If found guilty, both the married woman and her lover will suffer a prison term for a maximum period of six years.

Under Article 334, the law punishes a married man for concubinage only if he is found guilty of any of the following:

  • keeping a mistress in the conjugal dwelling
  • having sexual intercourse under scandalous circumstances with a woman who is not his wife
  • cohabiting with her in any other place

The penalty for the guilty husband is lower by one degree which is imprisonment for a maximum period of 4 years and 1 day only. His concubine, meanwhile, is given a separate penalty of “destierro” or banishment and not imprisonment.

So what is wrong with these? Let me see:

  1. In adultery, proof of sexual intercourse will suffice while a mere occurrence of a sexual intercourse is not enough to be guilty of concubinage.  It has to be proven first that said intercourse is under under scandalous circumstance or a husband kept a mistress in a conjugal dwelling or cohabited with her in any other place.  Yup, convicting a woman of adultery is simple and straight-forward while proving that a man is guilty of concubinage is a lot of work.  If a married man is simply screwing random women in different locations then our state is totally okay with that.   Seriously, what under scandalous circumstances really means?
  2. Let’s talk about penalties.  For the wife, the medium period of penalty for the crime of adultery ranges from 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 4 years and 2 months imprisonment. The maximum period ranges from 4 years, 2 months and 1 day to 6 years imprisonment. The maximum period of imprisonment for a woman who is proven guilty of adultery by the court is 6 years.  For the husband, the penalty of prison correctional in its minimum period is from six months and one day of imprisonment.  The medium period of penalty is from 2 years, 4 months and one day to 4 years and one day of imprisonment.  The maximum period of imprisonment for a man who is proven guilty of concubinage by the court is 4 years and one day.  Not only is it easier for a woman to get convicted, the punishment is also more severe.


The feminist in me just roar in rage.  I expected better from someone who leads the Public Attorney’s Office and a female lawyer.  It’s bad enough the law itself is unfair, it’s not surprising actually.  I bet the people who wrote and passed the law are men (I could be totally wrong).

So for Acosta, it’s basically only the woman who holds the family together?  It’s like telling men to go on their merry ways and do whatever they want, they have no responsibility whatsoever as a father and husband after all.  He can’t be held accountable for what he does; he’s a man after all and the society expects him to mess around anyway.   Since a woman is strong enough to keep the family intact, she now  holds the sole responsibility of keeping the family together and if she went astray she must face tougher penalties just because.  Fantastic!

This rant is not about encouraging married women to have an affair because men are doing it anyway and with lesser consequence.   This is not me wanting both husband and wife to be heavily penalized by the law for desecrating their supposed holy marriages.  This is about equality.  Husband and wife should be both held accountable on their respective duties to each other and to their family.  Both should be resilient when it comes to challenges and temptations that will jeopardize their union. Both sexes should face equal penalty for equal crime committed and both transgressions should be convicted on equal grounds.

It is such a shame to still live in a patriarchal society in this day and age. I am so sick of double standard and gender stereotypes.  It’s the freaking 21st century already!  We explored space, detected gravitational waves (something we only read about and some might think will remain a theory).  We have phones that seemed smarter than us.  We’ve come so far as to realize that we can make clothes without taking off animal’s skin.  We’ve done so much.  We seemed so progressive but at the deepest recesses of our minds, most of us still believe in that bullshit belief that women are second class citizens and are only created as an afterthought, a companion to the lonely men.  Therefore we always have to have to play second fiddle to just about everything.

Nothing hurts a feminist more than seeing another woman purposely refusing to make gender equality a possibility.   Gender equality has a long way to go. I am not losing hope, someday soon and I hope I am still alive to witness it, men and women will stand side by side and recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses and work together for a better world that is free of bias and stereotype.

This is for my girls all around the world
Who have come across a man that don’t respect your worth
Thinkin’ all women should be seen and not heard
So what do we do girls, shout out loud
Lettin ’em know we’re gonna stand our ground
So lift your hands high and wave ’em proud
Take a deep breath and say it loud
Never can, never will
Can’t hold us down



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