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Imelda Romualdez Marcos was the large prolific money spender and first lady to Ferdinand E. Marcos, who was the president of the Philippines for fourteen years as a dictator. In addition, Imelda’s reputation gained and she was very much ready to inherit the position of president from her husband during the time where Argentina, Israel, and India were governed mainly by women. As she would eventually have dealings with President Lyndon B. Johnson and President Richard M. Nixon, this showed how the duties of the first lady was limited such as, input on decision making in foreign policy. However, in the United States women have had roles, and most people formal, including Hilary Clinton’s trips to China and Latin America to show her support for the enhancing of women’s rights.
When Imelda started her dealings with President Nixon, it started her reign to power within the Philippine government. At first, Nixon tried to keep her hands tied and limit the things she could do, until she got the White House to let her visit in 1970 and 1971. This was the key thing that gave her more freedom to visit other nations. Imelda basically was the one who rebuilt the bridges between Nixon and Ferdinand when tension increased. In addition, there were two stages in which Imelda had dealings with the Nixon administration. The first one was primarily for social nature. She played the secondary role to her husband, whereas during the second stage, her role expanded and she asked for loans and assistance to keep her husband in power, but that did not happen. This also showed how her power was limited.
Imelda Marcos’s story before becoming a well-known successor of her husband was very interesting. She has great ambitions politically and socially as well, due to the fact that she began poor, but today we know her for her extravagant and money spending lifestyle. Since she grew up from the poor side, her father gave her one thing that would take her a long way, which is the importance on the value of education. With this, Imelda graduated from both high school and college, but she did not have many chances to have a liable career, because women did not have the same opportunities as men. Then, she used what she had, which was her beautiful physical appearance to attract a husband, and that turned out to be, then congressman, Ferdinand E. Marcos. Imelda knew that with a marriage, she would be more accepted socially.
Imelda was the type of woman that wanted to be highly active in anything that she could be on, but gender roles played a key role in her not being able to do what she wanted do. According to Imelda biographer, Katherine Ellison, the wealthy Filipinas her attached to their men, mainly because their men were in professional fields. Imelda performed more tasks than she could handle, and then she eventually had broken down, because she also had three children to tend to, and she still was the hostess of several events worldwide. After her breakdown, she would then perform the normal niche that she was to play. She would then stop flying places by herself and join her husband on campaigns and conventions. Everything that Imelda sacrificed, transformed into, and her close associations with Ferdinand was a result of a male-dominated society. However, Imelda was not a victim of this male-dominated society, because she used her natural-born talents to make impact throughout her husband’s presidency term. Even though she was an active first lady, Imelda still played the role of a tradition first lady as well, which was to take care of her husband first, then perform other tasks. She said that she met her husband first and that he comes first, then her children would become after him, which gave her justifications for sending her three children to boarding schools. Since Imelda and Ferdinand were so busy, there was no way possible for them to take care of their children, especially with Imelda having the ability to travel to other nations after her groundbreaking meeting with President Nixon.
In the beginning, Imelda Marcos had four motives. She wanted to boost tourism in the Philippines, promote social welfare for the people who didn’t have equal opportunities, advance the culture, and make the country more beautiful. Imelda was internationally compared to John F. Kennedy’s wife, Jacqueline Kennedy. The most common thing that they shared was their favorable liking to improve the arts and cultures in their nations. They both wanted to raise funds to build art centers in the 1960s. Imelda saw the improvement of culture would then make the leader of the country the father, which would be her husband Ferdinand, and the first lady would be the mother of the country, which would be her. This idea that she came up with is still used by the first lady of presidents today.
In 1969, Imelda Marcos finally achieved something that she was striving for years, which was to open her own cultural center. It was called the Cultural Center of the Philippines. It was a big success for her, because she even had President Richard Nixon to attend opening night. In addition, Nixon got then governor of California, Ronald Reagan and his wife to come as well. This would also be another chapter of the many close ties that Imelda Marcos would have with Washington. This was also one of the main reasons for the close relationship between the United States and the Philippines.
When Imelda would meet with President Nixon in 1971, she would be a different person. The worst thing happened to her during her marriage when she found out that her husband was having an affair with an actress for two years. This was devastating, because the woman was beautiful and blonde, there were recorded conversations of the president and the mistress, and it was embarrassing since Imelda was a well-known and respected woman. Ferdinand would then come to his senses and reconcile with his wife, which not only fixed with marriage, but his presidency as well.
With all being said, Imelda Marcos was a woman that did not settle for anything. When she wanted something done, she would overcome obstacles to do that, as seen with her meetings with Nixon that would eventually become worldwide meetings. Women were limited to the things that they could do socially and politically, but Imelda became involved during her husband’s presidency in every way that she could worldwide. Imelda gained a lot of reputation from her travels after her hands became untied, which would lead her to become the governor of Manila, and the Minister of Human Settlements. Even though she had these titles, she still performed the roles of the first lady as well as still visiting the United States.
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