Book: Explorations in Women, Rights, and Religions
Chapter: Maria Clara in the Twenty-first Century: The Uneasy Discourse between the Cult of the Virgin Mary and the Filipino Women’s Lived Realities
The Virgin Mary looms large as the image of a “good” Filipina or Filipino woman in both cultural and religious landscapes in the Philippines. A “good Filipina” imagery points specifically to the weak or passive woman, who is represented by a satirical character named Maria Clara. The Roman Catholic Church reinforces such imagery to highlight the Madonna-Whore dichotomy. However, in the 21st century, Filipino women have come to challenge the image of a good woman as weak and passive person. This paper explores the challenges that Filipinas face in their everyday lives, which call for a re-examination of the role of Catholic faith in their lived experiences.