This study examines the nexus of gender and migration, specifically exploring the geographies of gender entwined with the lives of Filipino heterosexual couples staying in Belgium. It tries to shed light to the (re)structuring of couples’ gender ideologies and praxis given the mediation of migration. By unpacking the emerging configurations and patterns, this study elucidates how these gender relations and transformations are imbricated in time and space. Canvassed literature and this study’s data show that gender norms and roles generally signify clear-cut demarcations between Filipino men and women in the Philippines brought about by the country’s colonial past and neocolonial present. The elusiveness of development in the Philippines wrought by the neoliberal order led the Filipino couples to pursue their development imaginaries in a foreign land, which in turn, have opened up horizons for the redefinition of their masculinity/femininity. These development imaginaries, which are mainly hinged on their family-centered principles and which economic pursuit has a salient role to play, are instrumental for the shifts in the gender norms, roles and asymmetry of Filipino couples in Belgium. In the process, a transgression of gender barriers transpires and new gender subjectivities arise.
Keywords: Filipino couples, migration, gender, gender norms, gender roles, gender (a)symmetry, gender subjectivities, familism, development imaginaries, neoliberalism
About the Study
This formed part of my Advanced Master’s program in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies at the Katholiek Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, AY 2018-2019.
Time frame: September 2018-May 2019
Funding: This study was made possible through the full scholarship I received from VLIR-UOS.
Photo by Tim Mossholder from Unsplash