Friday, April 17, 2009

the struggle: from top to bottom and everything else in the middle

many would argue that men are innately driven for power. they struggle for a position that would be above than the rest of his fellow. he seeks power to influence other, wealth to provide his material decandence and fame to satisfy his ego.politics is personal and personal is politics, as my activist friends used to say. no person can actually claim that they are apolitical because in everything that we do, politics is involve. the way we are designated in the dining table, how we ride the mrt and even in having sex.

earlier, my attention was caught, as usual, by mugen's post entitled the catcher. it dwelled upon the story of his friend who was thinking about giving up his ass to his partner. but the thing was both of them were top.
the first time, i encountered the term top, was during the time dianne and i were doing our thesis in college. i must admit, i was surprised when i first heard it from our respondents. there was this spark that triggered the interest in me, as if an itch craving to be understood.

kenchie and joar are partners for almost 3 years during that time. kenchie is a frat man taking up engineering. while joar was a former nursing students, who stowed away from home in isabela after his family knew about his sexuality. the former is couple of years younger than the latter. and thanks to a local internet chatting room in baguio, they met.

at first look, you'll say that both of them could probably good friends. i even mistook them as ordinary customers when i entered the internet cafe, where i was told by dianne to meet them. after introducing myself and the purpose of my interview, i was surprise, when they started the interview in the middle of the place.

"whats with the shock? we haven't told you anything yet," kenchie asked me.

"aren't we going somewhere more silent and discreet? i am just concern because most of the questions i have our quite personal."

"don't worry. most of the patrons here are our friends and also chatters, so its okay," joar answered.

"excuse me for being such an amature researcher," i said to myself. so we proceeded.

in the start, i felt that the interviewer was more uncomfortable than the interviewees. but later on, the discomfort subsided and found myself throwing questions spontaneously. it was indeed an enlightening one. i realized that conversations with strangers are probably one of the most unforgetful and meaningful talk one will ever have in his/her lifetime.

then we finally reached the issue of sex. i decided not to prepare any questions for it to avoid personal intrusions. i thought of just letting them talk and probably pick up random questions from there. after a while, kenchie introduced himself as the top while joar as the bottom. then joar immediately reacted that he is versatile. kenchie laughed. i told them i am completely clueless. then they both laughed. i even heard a couple of other customers giggled at my back. the discomfort returned. i just hate that feeling that everybody knows something except me.

fortunately, joar was kind enough to explain what top, bottom and versatile mean. based from him, the top portrays the male part on the intercourse. bottom as the female counterpart. while versatile can do both. then everything made sense. so they continued.

while kenchie was talking, i then recalled on how joar reacted when he was introduced as the bottom. i immediately felt the stigma and connotation of the word to him. it was the exact same feeling from the other set of respondents i met, prior to them. the first insisted he was bisexual than gay. while the other claims he is gay than "bakla". while some also claimed that they are straight who are just curious and looking for good time. i never realized the plurality and complexities of such terms until i decided to do that research. as if every character and letter of the word signifies meanings that could either defend or destroy one.

from there, my interest began to widen. as if our topic gave birth from one thing to another: from stereotypes, to homophobia, to virtual sanctuaries, to internal homophobia and to this, power struggles among gay partners.

it is interesting to note that even among gay homosexuals, the image of the man is still seen as above from the rest, that it is favorable, advantageous and powerful than those who possesses or even at the very least just portrays the "role" and the characteristics of a woman, that on this view is seen as weak, vulnerable and exploitable.

having this in mind, while i am writing this, i wondered, is it possible for patriarchy to evolve to another form from the one we use to know? if this is true, then is it also posible that what homosexuals are experiencing now are just the tip of the discrimination that is ahead of them? or is it more hurtful than being discriminated by fellow homosexual?

i may not be perfectly aware of this or probably i am just over analyzing things again. but if there is one thing that i am sure of, that is the fact that labels and roles don't justify what a person is. for a person is ought to define him/herself alone.

***
a couple of hours later after reading mugen's post, i sent him a message regarding it. then he replied with a simple line, its all about power struggle, wiwik.

then i finally realized that he has a point and that we were actually coming from two entirely different perspectives. when i was thinking too much about the bigger arena, he was actually coming from a smaller and more intimate space.

it is given that man seeks power over to his fellow. but the theory overturns when love enters the equation. if a person indeed loves someone, regardless of preference, s/he is "willing" to sacrfice his/her position despite of the doubt and possible hurt ahead. simply because s/he is loving---

and this basically, what makes love special.

***
probably, the summer heat is already draining all my emoness dry and i need some refilling again. hahaha!
and no, dabo, yours is an exception. you have a immeasurable source of it, for you are thy the perpetual and ever-immaculate one. peace out!

22 comments:

Mugen said...

"fortunately, joar was kind enough to explain what top, bottom and versatile mean. based from him, the top portrays the male part on the intercourse. bottom as the female counterpart. while versatile can do both. then everything made sense. so they continued. "

This is the general impression of being tops and bottoms, and I admit that I am still caught by the stereotypes.

Most tops are challenged when faced by an equally masculine bottom. Pero that not the point, this entry hit the spot which I am trying to imply on my entry.

Some PLUs like to preserve their masculinity intact, hindi pa rin tayo tapos sa era na ang bading ay laging inaasahang effeminate and when some situations force them to collide with their ideals (like taking the generally thought female role ie bottom) medyo awkward ang pagtanggap nila.

Heto ang sabi sa akin ng kaibigan ko sa text.

"Never ko makikita ang sarili ko na bottom. Ang sagwa brad."

I tell you, kung barako na ang tingin mo sa akin, mas barako pa yun.

Niel Camhalla said...

What I'm looking into (kasi hindi ko pa sya masyado naintindihan) is the top-bottom binary similar to the other opposing sides like man-woman, logic-emotion, master-slave, good-bad etc.

One side (good, top, man, logic, master) is being privileged. The bottom is seen on the bad side. Isn't that phallucentrism?

I also noticed that most tops have a certain aversion of becoming bottom. I was asking myself last night "Why are the top so afraid of becoming bottom?"

Is it a form of castration anxiety? I'm still not sure.

Mugen said...

To add. There's nothing wrong being effeminate. Kanya kanyang trip yan, which we must understand. Yun nga lang, since pop culture always show the effeminate guy being the soft one, some guys don't want to have an impression like that.

dabo said...

magrereact ba ako dito lol =)

dabo said...

so far base sa sinulat mo at obserbasyon ko, napansin ko superficial pa rin naman pala ang effect ng mga sterotyping sa PLU world.

kahit source ito ng prejudice, most people don't care nonetheless. yung mga preferences, roles etc.. could be nothing but defense mechanism

Mr. Scheez said...

"that it is favorable, advantageous and powerful than those who possesses or even at the very least just portrays the "role" and the characteristics of a woman, that on this view is seen as weak, vulnerable and exploitable" -- is this your theory? Your conclusion? Your observation? Did someone say this to you, your friends/professors perhaps?

I asked because I find it sexist: women as weak, vulnerable and exploitable. Me kasabihan nga - "behind every great man is a woman". Did even people think that women are actually in control of men?

Sorry if this is out of topic but I can't help but react with this bottom and top thing and stereotyping women as weak, vulnerable, and exploitable just because of the notion, or that it is given, that women always take the bottom position in a sexual act.

Hangtaray ko! =)

parteeboi said...

"it is given that man seeks power over to his fellow. but the theory overturns when love enters the equation. if a person indeed loves someone, regardless of preference, s/he is "willing" to sacrfice his/her position despite of the doubt and possible hurt ahead. simply because s/he is loving---

and this basically, what makes love special."

I'm so touched by this... this is so true... if you're in love, powere doesn't count. if you love, you think of the "what's in it for him" than the "what's in it for me."

DN / DeathNote said...

ang pag-ibig ay parang pagong na lumilipad... KALOKOHAN. :P

wanderingcommuter said...

mugen: siguro dahil sa emergence ng feminism kaya nagkakaroon din ng parallel movement at struggle ang mga effeminates. at hindi ko din mapagkakailang lahat tayo ay intact pa din sa ating masculinitty.

thank you!

neil: i think so too. the phallus symbolizes power and everyone who bows upon it is considered as subordination, another form of patriarchy. tingin ko, kapag nasa top ka, yun nga advantageous, powerful etc. ka. ayaw nilang magbottom kasi, parang ganito lang yan. kapag ang isang tao naging presidente ng bansa, kahit anong gawin mo hindi mo na yan mapapabalik ulit sa DSWD.

mr. schees: this is the concept of patriarchy and yes, this is indeed sexist for this is where the word came from. but this is not my theory.

dabo: hindi na ako magkokoment sa iyo, sasabihin ko na lang sa iyo kapag katapos mong kumain ng fries!

parteeboi: you have said it better than the way i have said it.

DN: hindi kalokohan ang turtle doves. nyahahaha!

Eternal Wanderer... said...

Politics and power-play.

Even the world of men who have sex with men seems to be vulnerable to it.

Hayz.

lucas said...

love is a horizontal force. it compels two individuals to grow and meet at a common point or in a same level where they become equals.

Anonymous said...

tang-ina...nakakadiri talaga

pwet didilaan

titi ipapasok sa puwet na labasan ng tae

tapos gusto nyo igalang kayo

asa pa

centurion said...

it's a matter of preference lang yan.. kanya kanyang trip lang yan.. for as long as doon ka masaya at yun ang gusto mo.. mapa top ka man o mapa bottom..

dabo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dabo said...

ingat ka sa sinasabi mo anonymous 10:20.

hindi kita binabantaan pero mataas kasi ang chance na naka-abuso ka na ng tao.

line of flight said...

in my experience, as long as a power complex is operating, there is no love and as long as love is operating there is no power complex. (Cf. Carl Jung) Real intimacy does not operate on these terms of domination.

the phallus can symbolize power but having a conscious relationship with power/the-phallus doesn't necessarily imply subordination or domination. It is relating to the phallus in a submissive or dominating way that gives its its flavor of domination.

If we repress the existence of power, then it will appear in an autonomous fashion and we will be separated from our ability to love.

i am interested in how power engenders and gender empowers especially because of the persistence of the gendered terms of domination and subordination in relation to sex among baklas.

Yj said...

hmmmmmmmmm one of those things na hindi pinag-uusapan dahil mahirap arukin, but at some point kailangan eh....

i totally agree with lucas.... i have friends na yung isa masyadong dominante sa halos lahat ng bagay, pero siya naman ang nagpapa-ubaya sa pagkodominante nung isa sa kama. and somehow, hindi naman nagiging issue sa kanila ito.... kaya nga siguro after nine years, sila parin....

...... yang anonymous na yan ha!!! nakakapanggigil.... naku!!!!

Niel Camhalla said...

comments on comments:

"behind every great man is a woman"

there is a hidden sexism in that statement-- the image of woman being behind, second, passive.

on love...

there are also a binary at work, the lover and the beloved. i won't be too quick to say that there is no struggle between the two.

this talking about it, is empowering and some people are threatened that people who are seen 'weak' is realizing they are not weak after all.

Anonymous said...

Controversial ah! Then someone left a comment, someone judgmental, somebody who Im sure is burning in hell for being discriminatory.

That someone Im sure is also hoping to suck a dick but is still in the closet.

That someone is 10.20 April 17.

KJ

Jake said...

Very well analyzed though not that novel. I've encountered various literature on this type of powerplay among tops and bottoms, butch and effems alike.

And I couldn't agree more with Centurion when he said that "kanya-kanyang trip lang 'yan."

Actually, it all boils down to it. There's no guarantee that a top will forever be a top. I must admit, I'm speaking from a personal experience.

Anonymous said...

"somebody who Im sure is burning in hell for being discriminatory."

Somebody who fucks ass will not?

Mugen said...

Praise be, salvation let me not fall into believing heaven and hell.