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On rose-tinted glasses, red flags, and toxic relationships in media

No matter how critics point out that romantic comedy is a dying genre, a myriad of films proves that it will be hard to completely rid this off the romance bracket. 



(Artwork by Patricia Jardin/TomasinoWeb)

No matter how critics point out that romantic comedy is a dying genre, a myriad of films proves that it will be hard to completely rid this off the romance bracket. 

Meet-cutes that are borderline awkward and adorable, rain-soaked kisses, and shouting-my-love-on-the-rooftop gestures were homestead tropes that cemented rom-com as a sustaining genre. For one, their overtly unrealistic love stories constantly suspend our disbelief by serving to blur our worldly apprehensions for an hour and a half, and fueled our love for a light-hearted romance over the years.

Despite equally laughing and feeling kilig over the sheer absurdity of these fairytale-esque stories, we must be wary. As the rose-tinted glasses that we put on for a few hours begin to wear off, we may belatedly realize that some of the most romantic films we have come to enjoy are not as enjoyable as we think. Some relationships in movies and TV shows are a walking masquerade of toxicity and they are getting away with it. 

Lifeline of romance

We consume most movies and TV shows with the knowledge that they cease to exist in our reality. Some, however, offer think-pieces that mostly question the way we deal with and against the norms of society. This is especially true with genres that delight in the supernatural and fantasy. 

With rom-com, however, most films are set in society as we know it. They are written as normal people, acquiring normal jobs, going through the same mundane things, and socializing and falling in love with people the way we do. There is still this suspension of disbelief with rom-com movies and TV shows, but at the same time, we are subjected to put ourselves in their depicted situation solely because of the possibility that their experiences oddly mirror ours. 

George Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory emphasizes how media consumption largely contributes to people’s perception of society. It posits that media and its portrayals may develop as a convincing belief of reality to the audiences. This may paint a murky line between the truth and the imagined. With the nostalgic collection and constant bombardment of rom-com films in the media industry, the discourse on what should stop being glorified in the romantic genre as a testament to love is important now more than ever. 

Red flags in media portrayals of relationships 

(Trigger Warning: Mention of suicide)

Rewatching some of the staple rom-coms with a newly-bred awareness for toxicity is not exactly an idea of unwinding. For instance, I have noted that most rom-com classics I rewatched are peppered with beliefs that persistent bordering on manipulation is the key to be with the person you admire. 

Manipulation. In 2014’s She’s Dating the Gangster, Kenji (Daniel Padilla) and his threat to jump from a building as the ultimate scare to let Athena (Kathryn Bernardo) agree to be his girlfriend is not a laudable gesture of persistence. It minuscules the idea of suicide and dismisses the numerous times Athena refused him. We, the passive audience, are made to believe that for these types of rom-coms, “no” is seen as a challenge to pursue the person even more. 

Manhandling. A lot of these romantic comedies also perpetuate the idea that manhandling or being held without consent is a romantic gesture that shows the intensity of one’s feelings. This can ring true to some Korean dramas, like Boys Over Flowers (2009) and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016), which portray these gestures as chivalrous when in fact it disturbs the person’s personal space. People who are not aware that this is alarming can mistake this as a natural thing to do in a relationship. 

Grand gestures. It is also notable that the general proposition of love in romantic genres traverse only if a grand romantic gesture is added into the equation. This is not toxic per se, but if paraded as a necessity to lasting love, it can overlook things of greater importance such as loyalty, honesty, trust, and all other selfless and amicable qualities.

As an iconic quote from Bojack Horseman says, red flags look like flags when you have been wearing rose-colored glasses throughout the entirety of the relationship. These toxic practices were paved as a norm in the media industry, and they are consequently laid ease by the consumers of media because: it has cemented itself, it is painted in a light-hearted manner—all with the crescendo of music, slow motions, and ethereal-glow-tinted filters—and it is supported by our patriarchal system. 

However, the context in which these romance movies and TV shows were created should also be taken into account. Most rom-com materials were subjected to times where these toxic practices were either overlooked or tolerated. 

On the bright side, the amount of material centering on romantic comedies has significantly improved as evidenced by the plethora of movies ridiculing these pernicious tropes which had gone before them. 

It is not to say that the media industry should halt these stories featuring toxic relationships altogether. Rather, these toxic relationships should be shown in their rawest, in the reality of how relationships with toxic tendencies unfold and how its romanticization will never lead to a rom-com-approved happy ending.  



Thomasian musicians to add to your playlist

With all the new takes on OPM, let’s not forget about our fellow Thomasians who are persevering to let their craft be known in the mainstream media. Support local, support Thomasian artists.



The rise of Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and other music-streaming platforms paved the way for more artists to share their craft with a broader audience. It is now easier to promote your material through social media, while people can seamlessly listen to your music through different audio platforms on-demand without splurging too much cash. A basic subscription plan lets anyone stream all the music they want and play your songs on repeat. With this boom in the music industry through technological advancements, artists are inspired, now more than ever, to produce more music and give sick beats to avid listeners.

Here is a shortlist of Thomasian musicians you can stream on your music platforms.

1. Al James

(Photo courtesy of Jilson Tiu)

Before he was front and center in most gigs and before his music was blasted through the speakers of bars, Alvin James Manlutac, famously known as Al James, also sat in the rooms of Beato as a student under the College of Fine Arts and Design. In launching his first hit, he also doubted himself because he knew his style did not follow hip-hop norms. But fast-forward to today, his crafts are among the most famous songs played in the nightlife scene, as well as in casual get-togethers with your friends.

Manlutac permeated the fine line between underground and mainstream when he released his song ‘Pahinga,’ gaining more than 7.3 million views since its release three years ago.

Screengrab from Presko Life PH

2. Migo Señires

(Photo from DBTK)

Like Al James, Migo Señires also spent his college days in Beato, studying Advertising Arts in the College of Fine Arts and Design. They are both a part of the Baryo Berde crew, a multi-talent collective that fixates on culture and art. 

Señires released his song, Kara,which garnered more than 141,000 views since it was posted on his channel. He claims that he wrote it for the younger people who forgot their roots and the older ones who get frustrated when they can’t keep up with modern times. 

3. Schumi

(Screengrab from YouTube/Schumi)

When he is not walking around the halls of Ruaño, he may be singing center stage. Albert Guallar, famously known as Schumi, has been catching ears in the local hip-hop scene. He first started producing music and uploading it to SoundCloud, which then garnered the attention of people who had an interest in hip-hop. In an interview with TomasinoWeb, he said that his Schumi persona — writing music and such, is his gateway to express his emotions. It was an effective venue to vent out feelings of heartbreak and sadness, which, in this instance, was his breakup with his girlfriend. 

Schumi’s hit song ‘Bakit Why Not’ talks about breaking norms and protesting against some stereotypes like gender roles. Its music video has amassed more than 10 thousand views within two months of its release.



4. Himig Borhuh

(Photo from Himig Borhuh’s official Soundcloud)

From walking around the halls of the Albertus Magnus to being in the spotlight of #USTPaskuhan, Himig Austin Borja, a Music Technology student from the Conservatory of Music, has been making a name for himself. In an interview with UST Tiger TV, he said that he didn’t really envision himself to major in music since he was inclined to sports and was a basketball varsity player during his high school years. He also did not expect his hit song, ‘Watawat,’ to become well-known and was surprised that lines from his song became widespread after its release.

Himig Borja’s ‘Watawat,’ featuring Schumi, was a song that garnered attention during the last UAAP season. The line ‘ang medalya at korona ibalik na sa España,’ reflected the community’s yearning to secure another championship and showed the support Thomasians have for all our sports teams as well as the pride we have for our school. 

5.  Adrian Aggabao

(Photo from Adrian Aggabao’s official Instagram account)

Adrian Aggabao, popularly known as ‘Don Bao,’ is a Raymund’s local from the College of Commerce and Business Administration. Like Schumi, his music career also began when he started publishing his music on SoundCloud. Since then, he has secured multiple gigs during his downtime. Most of his music speaks about social realities and what’s nice about it is that he has his family as his inspiration. 

Don Bao’s song ‘Pasanin’ emphasizes on the lessons that a life filled with struggles and obstacles brings. Having dropped this first video on his Youtube channel about a year ago, it has garnered more than 2.3 thousand views. 

6. BarbaCola

(Photo from BarbaCola’s official Facebook page)

From UST Musikat’s band pool, the band BarbaCola was formed with Renz Jerique from the Faculty of Arts and Letters on vocals, Raja Rayas from the College of Education on bass, Cedrick Santa Cruz from the Faculty of Engineering on lead guitar, and Raemonn Petr on drums.

BarbaCola’s song ‘Senseless’ runs along with the themes of alternative and indie genres, mainly focusing on the ups and downs of love and how it is a war that one might not survive.

7. VFade

(Photo from Patrick Valentine Cabanayan’s official Facebook account)

Patrick Valentine Cabanayan, more commonly known as VFade, hails from the College of Science under the Department of Mathematics. In an interview with UST Tiger TV, he stated that his interest in music developed when he was in Senior High School, specifically during an apprenticeship under the Music, Arts, and Design track. He tried out music production and also ventured into rapping. 

His song ‘Andito Lang Ako’ expresses love and affection for a significant other. The song itself embodies the wide array of emotions one might feel when in love and how some minute details in the world seem brighter in the presence of strong feelings of attraction.

8. OMEN, Carty and Ballen

(Screengrab from YouTube/OnlyOneOmen)

All coming from the same Advertising Arts class in the College of Fine Arts and Design, third year students OMEN (Ron Flores), Carty (Zack Garcia), and Ballen (Allen Agulay) recently made their brainchild available to the public. The trio, who consider themselves brothers from another mother, has collaborated to release a new song entitled ‘Karma Comeback.’

As a collective, they claim that they made the song ‘Karma Comeback’ for fun since quarantine made it hard for them to bond and share their sentiments. By collaborating, they delved into their passion, music, art, and dumb sh*t, as they say.

Thomasians have always been present in every field, more prominently in the music industry. Their growth as artists and musicians will be exponential if we continue to support them and their work. With all the new takes on OPM, let’s not forget about our fellow Thomasians who are persevering to let their craft be known in the mainstream media. Support local, support Thomasian artists. 


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How to apply clown makeup

Did you know that circus clowns make $60,000 a year while you’re out here doing it for free?



(Artwork by Patricia Jardin/TomasinoWeb)

When Miles Edgeworth said, “You are not the clown. You are the entire circus,” I felt that.

Did you know that circus clowns make $60,000 a year while you’re out here doing it for free? It’s the first day of April and what better way to commemorate this annual holiday than putting on your best clown makeup! From McDonalds to your local emoji, we’re here to help you channel that inner Boo Boo the Fool in you. 

First, make sure your skin is prepped nice and clean. Bold assumptions and hasty generalizations usually make a good base. These tend to last longer because you refuse to take them off. You can use your two fingers, a sponge, or your foolish thoughts to apply it evenly. 

Now it’s time to build on those assumptions and paint your canvas. Start off by carving out spaces on your eyes and mouth where you will be applying the colors. Depending on your preference, you can choose to paint the eye with the same color or two different colors. When deciding which color, be quick and impulsive. Then, remember to paint it with inconsistency just like your thoughts and words. 

The cheeks and mouth will be red. Luckily, there are a variety of rouge shades in clown makeup. We recommend using the palette “Red Flags,” which you can get for free when you use the code “NOLABELS” or “CAN’TCOMMIT” at checkout. Color in your cheeks with a soft red color, perhaps in the shade “Here for a good time, not a long time” or “Only talk about themselves but never ask about you.” Don’t spend so much time blending because the key here is completely ignoring it.

The mouth is the highlight of clown makeup. Our tip is to overline your lips to the degree you overthink. You can then go ahead and color it in, but this time with a more intense shade of red. The shades “Entitled,” “Manipulative,” and “Caught cheating in 4K” are the most tolerated in the clown community. 

Accentuate the details of your look by making outlines around your eyes and mouth. Again, depending on the look you’re going for, you can make the outline as thin as your chances with that person you’re simping over or as thick as your audacity to get back with your ex after getting off a 3-hour phone call with your best friend who clearly told you not to. 

Of course, we can’t forget about the cherry on top and the crowning glory of clowns: the wig. There’s a wide variety of colors you can choose from but select a wig that will fit your head and perfectly cover up all your tomfoolery, bamboozlement, and wishful thinking. 

If you have cash to spare, throw in a costume and some oversized shoes that will help you jump into conclusions better. Don’t forget to pop on a red nose and voilà! The circus is complete. 

The art of clownery is one that is hard to master, yet the community keeps growing. And that speaks volumes. Clowning isn’t just a coping mechanism, it’s a cultural reset, a lifestyle, a reason to breathe, and an escape from this cruel world. 

Most importantly, it’s harmless because the only person you’re fooling is yourself. Happy April Fools‘!

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