HomeFEU Communication Journalvol. 3 no. 1 (2007)

“Woman’s Body Power” in Philippine Sex Melodramas

Jamal Ashley Abbas

Discipline: Art, Sociology



Sex films are sites for power discourse. This article reviews some fi lms that show the power of sex workers, especially female sex workers, one of the most maligned people in Philippine society. It discusses Philippine sex melodramas as a film genre and the power discourses depicted in these films. This article traces the beginning of the genre and enumerates its characteristics. For theoretical framework, it goes beyond Mulvey’s “male gaze” and voyeuristic daydreams. It is based on Weber’s three dimensions of difference—class, status and power—and on Wilhelm Reich’s thoughts on sexuality but focuses on Michel Foucault’s “technologies of the Self ” concept. The article concludes that based on the particular fi lms studied, a “political technology of the body” exists in the sub-culture of the sex workers and the protagonists use such political technology to their advantage.