The curse of the modern Filipina: Exposing the satirical representation of the women in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere to save the Maria Clara, Sisa and Doña Victorina of today

Ivy Angelie Pastor GURUNG

Research output: Other contributionHonours Project


The construction of the modern Filipina’s womanhood is threatened by the lingering effects of the Spanish colonization especially in the form of the Catholic faith. Using the reciprocal relationship between power and resistance by Michel Foucault, this paper establishes the contributing factors behind the everlasting socio-cultural influence that the three women in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere has towards the construction of the ideal Filipina. The formation of the subservient 19th Century Filipina, who falls willingly under a hierarchy of servitude is emphasized in the novel, acting as a catalyst for the reconstruction of the ideal Filipina. The polarizing effect of Noli can be seen in the proliferation of the Maria Clara ideal and the vehement advocacies to eliminate her as the embodiment of a true Filipina by women’s rights activists. Maria Clara, Sisa and Doña Victorina exemplify how resistance is an integral component for power to function and how it could manifest as its own power to provoke change in pursuit for the rights and liberation of the modern Filipina.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018


Catholic Faith
Cultural Influences
Michel Foucault
Women's Rights


  • Modern Filipina
  • Jose Rizal
  • “Noli Me Tangere”
  • Power/resistance
  • Michel Foucault
  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (English Language) (Five-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A5B059
  • Course code: ENG4907