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The poem is about what a man should be. The persona in the poem may be a father talking to his son on what a man is, this can be seen in line 1 of the poem:
“Pagka’t lalaki ka, anak”
This line tells us that the persona may be talking to his son on what being man means. The poem implies that men are more important than women in the society. The poem also teaches us that men can make mistakes and they don’t have to always act strong and it’s okay to express their emotions.
This is evident in lines 1 to 2 and 8 to 9:
“Pagka’t lalaki ka, anak.
Matuto kang umiyak”
“Pagkat ikaw ay lalaki,
Matuto kang magsisi”
In the poem, it tells us that the son has inherited the qualities of the men before him but the father wants him to regret all of the things that the men before him has done because, like some famous men in history, they have been violent and unfair to those people who are less powerful than they are and they abuse the power they were given.
The father does not want the son to end up like what society perceives as a man because he wants him to be better and he has probably experienced some struggles in his life because of the men in his family like his father that have caused him to not want his son to be like them.
The poems message to the male population may be that men don’t have to act strong and “manly” all the time and that it is fine for them to feel.
The poem wants to tell men how society sees them and that we should change these stereotypes that society has made and make them see what a man really is. The poem wants to break the ideology of “Toxic Masculinity”. Toxic Masculinity is, by definition, a term in social science that describes masculinity as exaggerated masculine traits like being violent, unemotional, and sexually aggressive to name some. The poem wants to break this ideology because this can bring harm upon the people who experience it and to the men themselves who express this ideology. Some men practice this ideology without even knowing it because most men are raised with the idea that this is what a man is, this is very evident in the Philippines because we are a very traditional and religious country which entails that most people have the idea that men are the head or the “bread-winners” of the family and they should always be strong to keep the family alive.
The poem implies that people see women as not as important as men but in the end women are still an important part of society because men and women need one another because one cannot survive without the other. The poem is saying that society has also put a stereotype on woman that have led people to see them as not important. It is saying that men are not the only ones that we have put obstacles on to reach their true potential but we have also put obstacles for women. We have been raised to see women as only there for raising children and procreation but this belief is wrong because women and men are equal and should not be hindered from doing what they want to do.
The poem is very simple but if you really try to understand it, it talks about a lot of problems in our society that we have to fix in order to become better not as individuals, but as a whole community.
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