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Experiences of exploitation, exploration of sexuality, and struggles with poverty are the common tropes used in creating film narratives about macho dancers in the Philippines. How these macho dancers operate their lives have been subject to filmic representations from the 1980s up to the present. Notable films include Macho Dancer (1988) by Lino Brocka, the trilogy, Sibak: Midnight Dancers (1994), Burlesk King (1999), and Twilight Dancers (2006) by Mel Tionglo, and Boy (2009) by Auraeus Solito. This study analyzes and critiques how male sex workers in the films negotiates the notion of pagkalalaki in its depiction of professional, individuals, and social lives. Pagkalalaki, as a loose translation of masculinity, has its own cultural, sociological, and psychological basis through operating on kinship obligations, social values, and self-actualization respectively (De Castro, 1995; Pastor, 2019). This concept, at the core of implementing a formalist, contextual, and representational analysis, looks at how these films embody the goals of social realism, reflects the poverty porn critique, and in/forms a gender visual culture centered on the male body. Lastly, this study aims to forward the idea and ground the role of pagkalalaki as concept that queers and decolonizes universalizing notions of masculinity, and highlights its role in the articulation of local homosexual identity, the bakla, which has been rarely explored in Philippine queer theory across social sciences and humanities disciplines.

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Michael Pastor 2502
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