HomeAmerican Studies Asiavol. 1 no. 1 (2002)

Imelda Marcos, a Closetful of Shoes, and US Stereotypes of Philippine Political Culture

Ann Frances Sangil

Discipline: Political Science



The infamous Madame may have possessed uncountable pairs of shoes: she claims to have owned only a little over a thousand (although the stereotypical estimate is three thousand), which may be inversely proportional to the actual number of notes she correctly hits every time she sings one of her cloying ballads. Still, what eludes understanding is why the former First Lady of the Philippines continues to inspire people elsewhere to conjure up such an illustrative display of patent disinformation and collective ignorance. If this advertisement (published in a number of Southern California gay periodicals last year) was designed as a joke or caricature, no one from these shores is laughing. It can only strike discerning Filipinos as unnecessary travesty of the concept of charity and tax-deductible donations. Although obviously ironic, it assumes that putting forth an iconic image of “Meldy” mouthing “Welll, maybe just one pair...” will inspire readers to donate their threadbare shods to the uncannily named Out of the Closet Thrift Store, presumably the beneficiary of the business being elicited. So much for responsible advertising.