It hit us while we were watching American Hustle, which is based on events that occurred in the 1970s: What if we, the Filipinos who were born during the Marcos regime, stop calling ourselves ‘Martial Law Babies’, which is a terrible legacy we don’t enjoy being associated with, and instead, call ourselves ‘Disco Babies’, after the popular music of our childhood?
We thought of it again when we received an invitation to the UP Third World Studies Center forum entitled ‘Marcos Pa Rin! Ang mga Pamana at Sumpa ng Rehimeng Marcos’. Why must we be shackled to the Marcos regime for the rest of our lives? Are we to be defined in perpetuity by 3,000 pairs of shoes? We were children then. There are enough reminders of the martial law era (Though the public is oblivious); our generation doesn’t have to carry the label.
We hated disco when it was the only thing we could hear, but decades after its heyday we love the big-ness of it: the beats, the hair, the overtly sexual fashions. One might argue that under martial law, disco dancing was a form of protest: the oppressed asserting their freedom, on the dance floor at least.