Thursday, September 30, 2010

Filipina Migrant Wives and Sacrifice

From Lieba Faier's "On being oyomesan: Filipina migrants and their Japanese families in Central Kiso", a grounded insight:
For most of the women I met, being oyomesan meant managing two sets of domestic obligations - to both their natal and their affinal households. These women often spoke to me about the toll taken on them by these dual pressures of home...While the difficulties these women faced could be onerous, they also invoked them as evidence of the hardships they were willing to endure to be good family members. For example. many Filipina women in Central Kiso invoked a Catholic rhetoric of self-sacrifice to describe the ways that by fulfilling their roles as oyomesan they both negotiated their relationships with their Japanese in-laws and supported their families in the Philippines. Such discourses of sacrifice and suffering are heavily gendered in the Philippines.

...She sometimes described her relationship with her husband's paretns as 'my trials'; other times, however, she would ask rhetorically in Tagalog of her Filipino family's persistent requests for money and household items...Hanggang kailan? Such a statment might be understood not only as questioning how long Cora's family in the Philippines would expect her financial support but also as a query of broader global political economics...Cora's question thus might also be glossed: until when will the unequal political-economic relationships that force people in the Philippines to depend on remittances from foreign labor migrants for daily subsistence be allowed to persist?