The phenomenon of Pinoy baiting refers to the actions of non-Filipino individuals – such as celebrities or YouTubers – who post content online with the goal of gaining the attention of Filipinos. This often involves giving shallow and insincere compliments to Philippine culture and society, which has been criticised for perpetuating cultural cringe.
Cultural cringe is an internalised inferiority complex that causes individuals to view their own culture as inferior compared to other cultures. In the context of Pinoy baiting, cultural cringe refers to the perpetuation of negative stereotypes and oversimplifications of Philippine culture and society by non-Filipino individuals. This type of behaviour shows a lack of genuine appreciation or understanding of Philippine culture and society, which can lead to feelings of frustration and anger among Filipinos.
While some foreign content creators may engage in Pinoy baiting out of good intentions and a lack of awareness, fueled by demand from Filipino audiences, it becomes problematic when it turns into using Filipinos’ love for their country for clicks. Pinoy-baiting content creators can be easily identified, as they often dedicate their entire channel to reacting to all things Filipino and their content reinforces stereotypes without nuance. These creators may refuse to acknowledge criticism from Filipinos or speak over them like foreign saviours, actively seeking out a Filipino audience.
But there is a grey area in Pinoy baiting. Brave Filipinos who call out these content creators want them to produce better-informed and nuanced videos that showcase their intent more effectively, preventing others from falling for clickbait thumbnails. These Filipinos understand that some Filipinos fall for Pinoy baiting due to their need for foreign validation, a result of the colonial mentality, deeply ingrained in the Philippine culture and education system.
The discussion about Pinoy baiting is ongoing, with some content creators willing to improve while others refuse to listen. Filipinos can support creators who strive to do better and educate those who want to be informed. If a creator does not address and acknowledge criticism, Filipinos can choose to mute, block, and move on after speaking their mind. Beyond Pinoy baiting, Filipinos can also focus their energy on social issues, such as taking a social stance, registering to vote, and supporting Filipino athletes and photographers.
A 2022 study aimed to shed light on the impact of Pinoy baiting on Filipinos’ attitudes towards their own culture and society by focusing on social identity and how it influences attitudes towards media content on culture, as moderated by one’s national identity. The study found that regardless of the social identity of the media presenter, subjects’ attitudes did not differ significantly. The study also found a relationship between national identity and attitude towards culture-related media content, although national identity was not a significant moderator between social identity and attitude. These findings suggest that Generation Z Filipinos perceive foreigners promoting Filipino culture as showing cultural appreciation, rather than appropriation.
Pinoy baiting is a complex issue that requires a deeper understanding of the psychological and cultural factors at play. It’s important for individuals, especially those from outside the Philippines, to be mindful of their words and actions and strive for a deeper understanding and genuine appreciation of different cultures and societies.
Pinoy baiting reinforces stereotypes and oversimplifications of Philippine culture and society, leading to frustration and anger among Filipinos. By avoiding Pinoy baiting and engaging with Philippine culture and society in a respectful and genuine manner, we can create a more informed and nuanced world for everyone.