Rodis, Paulina dela Cruz. “I was a Tomboy”, Boston College, 2014. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/3889.
How does sexuality differ across cultures? Across genders? I propose that women in the Philippines face unique constraints on acceptable sexualities. Historical context and contemporary influences (i.e. the mass media, Catholic doctrine, education, and family) continually define and redefine acceptable behaviors. I conducted ten qualitative, open-ended interviews with Filipina women via video- or voice-conferences in early 2014. Based on the data collected, non-traditional women’s sexual orientations primarily were constructed through appearance and behavior, and not simply on sexual orientation. Women appearing or acting in a masculine fashion are labeled tomboy. Attitudes surrounding these alternate practices varied, especially as a result of religious beliefs or personal experiences. The data collected from the participants supported the importance of appearance and external influences in the constructions of and attitudes towards women’s sexualities. Furthermore, trends in the responses suggest a changing social culture in the Philippines that could lead to greater social acceptance for same-sex oriented identities.