All over the Philippines every Sunday afternoon a spectacle takes place which at its core involves men and their cocks: cockfighting. Male chicken are pitted against each other, to the gaudium of the typically less and less sober crowd as the afternoon progresses. The loosing chicken ends up in someone’s pot, and the owner of the winning bird with a sizable cash prize. Most guys bet on the outcomes of the fights, and everyone has a great time. Anyone who objects but who also eats Western tiny-cage-industrially-raised chicken is a hypocrite.
The cockfights are so popular here that some of the best chickens fight live on TV and there are specialized magazines for the hobby. Every little town has specialty shops with vitamin powders to get the roosters in fighting shape.
One thing, however, is conspicuously missing at the Filipino cockfights: hens, female chickens. This will change in the near future according to German feminist activist Murtraud Whiter. During a recent visit to the Philippines Ms. Whiter observed a cockfight and immediately objected to the lack of gender equality in “sabong” (the Filipino word for cockfight). “How will young female combat athletes relate to these famous fighting chickens as role models if these are all male?” Ms. Whiter questioned in a serious, yet mostly calm voice when she addressed the press in Cebu City over the topic this Monday.
Preliminary efforts to square off two hens against each other in a fighting arena produced at best mixed outcomes – the birds mostly ignored each other and inflicted little, and then only psychological damage over the course of thirty minutes. “Naturally, that’s all a result of cultural imprinting. It’s the current anti-hen attitude in Filipino cockfighting which made these female birds poor fighters. They simply grew up with the image of females as non-fighting birds.”
The Filipino cockfighting association could not be reached for comment.