Tsismis and the Filipino: How the Gossip of Dogeaters Informs Our Understanding of the Politics of Representation

Sarah Armstrong


Within Jessica Hagedorn's Dogeaters, gossip represents the Filipino, as a subject entirely variable and without solid foundation, but still incredibly powerful and perceived as real and firm. Gossip has the ability to shape and/or disrupt ‘official discourse’, and in doing so, acts as the Filipino, molding truth and performance into a powerful force that both shapes and disrupts stereotypes and political culture. However, both the Filipino and gossip also have the power to disrupt those structures and ‘official discourse’ by presenting an alternate discourse or representation. Hagedorn challenges her readers to recognize that no one discourse is the truth, and that even ‘official discourse’ and the ideal Filipino do not represent all discourse and all Filipinos.

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