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Clarion Congress & Hotel, Io


Justin Paolo D. Interno, College of Agriculture and Forestry, Tarlac Agricultural University.

Topic: Gamecocks for ‘County’ Machos in a Western-Shaped Society: Perceiving Modern-day Masculinity through the Rural Tarlac Cockfighting Derbies

Keyword: Gender relations, animal-human interactions, rural agency, cockfighting, game fowl


Cockfighting as an anthropogenic activity involving the combative matching of domesticated Gallus gallus has been regarded as a historically-old animal-centered recreational and money-generating (or gambling) sport.  Historically, this industry has long been perceived as a masculine sport in various parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, and the Americas because of its physically dangerous nature. This blood sport which was originated in Southeast Asia; which was further institutionalized in the early Greek and Roman civilizations through France among other European countries. Philippines, as a former Spanish and American colony in Southeast Asia, is also regarded as one of the sport’s most supportive societies, and up to present holds legal bounds for it to continue its operations. Anecdotes say that cockfighting is a “for-men” affair, and even in the age of boundlessness, there were instances by which people justify their masculine behavior using this form of agency.

This study sought to evaluate the extent by which rooster- or cock-raising and the practice of cockfighting is associated with masculinity of the modern rural Filipino males involved with such sport. Seasoned and amateur male game fowl owners, as well as cockfight derby goers in the municipalities of Sta. Ignacia, Paniqui, Moncada, and Camiling, Province of Tarlac were interviewed through One-on-one and participatory mechanisms. Results reveal experiences where rural male dwellers regard this sport as an affirmation of their hegemonic strength as heads of their households, community leaders, and producers of wealth. Male owners also have established high socio-cultural importance to their game fowls, by treating them as their own family members. There was also a reflection that the physical appearance of the game fowl is linked with the degree of sense of discipline and accountability (which is indicative of responsible manhood), specifically to cockfighting owners. In this modern era, involvement in cockfighting could be a relevant means for rural men to maintain their well-being.

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