Masculinity in the Age of (Philippine) Populism: Spectacle, Hypermasculinity, and Rodrigo Duterte
Recently, the resurrection of authoritarian tendencies in the form of populist movements has conscripted the fascistic aesthetic for its purposes. The rise of populism coincides with the rise of the digital world with its rapid mobility of images and text. Consequently, this has offered an effective platform for the dissemination of a new populist aesthetic. In a specific Philippine post-colonial context, how might we reflect and look at the aesthetics of populism? In this paper, we examine Rodrigo Duterte’s deployment of spectacle, sign, and symbol drawing from the critical resources of psychoanalytic and semiotic theory. Our position is that hegemonic masculinity is able to repackage itself depending on the contingencies of the historical moment. Furthermore, we argue that the new aesthetic of populism in the Age of Duterte reformulates the old iterations of masculinity to maintain its dominance over the Philippine socio-cultural present.