Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Brief Comparison

Anti-discrimination law
In the Philippines: No
In Norway: Yes 

Anti-hate speech law
In the Philippines: No
In Norway: Yes 

Same-sex civil unions or marriage
In the Philippines: No
In Norway: Yes (civil unions from 1993-12/31/2008; marriage equality since 1/1/2009) 

Adoption for same-sex couples
In the Philippines: No
In Norway: Yes 

Immigration rights for same-sex couples
In the Philippines: No
In Norway: Yes 

Artificial insemination available for lesbian couples
In the Philippines: No
In Norway: Yes (the government even pays for it)

Representation of same-sex couples in advertising and on TV
In the Philippines:  No
In Norway:  Yes

Other areas of contrast:
  • Abortion:  Legal in Norway, illegal in the Philippines
  • Divorce:  Legal in Norway, illegal in the Philippines
  • Free contraceptives in schools:  In Norway yes, in the Philippines no
  • Corporal punishment (e.g. spanking):  Legal in the Philippines, illegal in Norway
  • Scientifically-accurate information on sexuality/sexual orientation taught in schools:  In Norway yes, in the Philippines no

I am not listing these facts in order to gloat about Norway, but simply to show the stark contrasts between the two countries.  It may also help explain why it has been such a culture/society shock for me as a very liberal Norwegian being in a very conservative place like the Philippines.

The Philippines is a beautiful country with beautiful and hospitable people whom I respect very much, so this is not any kind of Philippines-bashing I assure you.  I'm merely stating the facts of the matter as they stand today on the issue of LGBT rights.

Personally, Filipino conservativeness is a culture shock for me, but I understand entirely that culture shock goes both ways.  Filipinos and other Asians who have been in Scandinavia experience the shock as well, just in the opposite direction.

BigBroNorway: These two have a bedsheet over them... most don't!
I remember when a Filipina housemate of the Pinoy Big Brother TV show did a housemate exchange and went to the Big Brother Finland house.  She was shocked that the house was so sexually open and “free.”  She said her head was spinning because she had seen two housemates having sex...and the two had only just met about five hours before that.  She also saw two guys in the house having sex, which really set her mind spinning.  And then of course on Scandinavian TV we show it all, no holds barred!  (We don't censor language, nudity, or sex on TV.)  The picture shown here, by the way, is the most G-rated example I could give from Big Brother Norway!

So of course going from the more wholesome Pinoy Big Brother house to a much more liberated Big Brother house in Scandinavia left that Filipina in a state of culture shock.  I recall one of the housemate's comments about her: “What's her deal? --- is she a nun in training?'”   There was a similar culture shock experienced when a Big Brother Thailand contestant came to the Big Brother Norway/Sweden house.  He was wide-eyed most of his time there. ;-)

In the Philippines, by contrast, the MTRCB (the Philippine censoring board) issued a warning to Pinoy Big Brother because the housemates were merely talking about contraceptives and were kissing.  Oh no!  Talking and kissing!  Those heathens!  Yes the MTRCB thought that was too provocative for TV.  What?!  (Take a look at the letter; it's pretty hilarious!)  They actually even suspended the show for one week...for a kissing scene and a bikini!  Wow, our two countries are really polar opposites in so many ways.

Exposure to other cultures and ways is a good thing though, so no harm no foul.  I'm not saying that being sexually “loose” is either good or bad; that's for each person to decide for themselves.  Some cultures are open, some are not, and it is what it is.  Live and let live I say.

Okay, "Bigmanoncampus91" asked for it so here you are:  a segment from one of the episodes of a TV show called Paradise Hotel Scandinavia, a popular reality show similar to Big Brother.  This is not a special web version -- this is a clip from regular prime-time TV.  If you didn't believe me that our TV is much more "liberated" in Scandinavia, now you will.  I think the MTRCB would have a heart attack if they saw this!

See also:  Philippine Status Quo


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