Mama, Home and Away: Philippine Cinema’s Discourse on the Feminization of Labor Migration
Ever since the ill-fated case of Flor Contemplacion, a domestic helper in Singapore who was executed by hanging in 1994 for murdering another Filipina maid and a child, the Philippine media has been actively taking part in shaping our perception toward the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) phenomenon. The Filipino diaspora has indeed remained alive in the national imagination through media representation (Lejano, (Un)packing the balikbayan box: images of the returnee in three contemporary Filipino movies. Masteral Dissertation, UP College of Mass Communication, 2003). This chapter examines the discourse on the feminization of labor migration in Philippine cinema against the backdrop of gender politics in Filipino culture. Popular and commercially successful films Anak and Caregiver presented the stories of mothers leaving their country and the effect of this modern-day exodus on their families. The film texts revealed a great ordeal experienced by OFW mothers, a crisis in identity and worth.
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