Response 1-Beauty in the Philippines: Materialized Oppression (11.2)

By Courtney Jarema, Oakland University

It’s well known that racism, sexism, and homophobia are prevalent issues of discrimination because they are constantly featured in media, movements, and policies in the US. Although it is incredibly important to fight against inequality among race, gender, and sexuality, Cortina helped me realize that these are only a few of many characteristics that lead to discrimination. Her timeline, “Beauty in the Philippines: Materialized Oppression,” exposes the concept of colorism and outlines the oppression experienced in the Philippines and Filipino communities.

My favorite part about Cortina’s multimodal timeline is the way she carefully crafts together multiple disciplines such as history, language, poetry, literature, art, and autobiography to depict the reality of Filipino oppression. She depicts these disciplines through the affordances of her timeline. Cortina’s use of audio particularly impacted me because of the way her tone, language, and originality represent her Filipina identity. Her choice to display the history of Filipino marginalization through a timeline was refreshing to view and effective in demonstrating the progression of the inaccurate perspectives and stereotypes that define Filipino beauty. 

I appreciated Cortina’s vulnerability in sharing the way that false standards of beauty have been inflicted upon her through the media and familial influence. Although I know that my experiences as a Caucasian female can’t compare to the oppression she has faced, I was able to connect with Cortina on the pressures of meeting societal expectations of beauty. Cortina’s open heart and honest voice made me feel connected to her on a personal level and deepened my empathy for the Filipino community. 

To further respond to Cortina’s “Beauty in the Philippines: Materialized Oppression,” I have created a collage that represents my new understanding of colorism as a means to share the significance of this issue that Cortina so meaningfully displayed in her work.

Collage Works Cited

“Black Lives Matter” Logo,

Cortina, B. “Beauty in the Philippines: Materialized Oppression.” Timeline, Year 1492, “Theoretical Framework.” Audio timestamp 0:37,

“Colorism” Image:

“Me Too” Logo:

“LGBTQ” Image: