‘Disgusting’: Director Darryl Yap’s new digitial series ‘The Cousins’ draws flak for tackling incest

June 16, 2020 - 8:05 PM
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Controversial director Darryl Yap was once again criticized for his upcoming digital series titled “The Cousins” which supposedly downplays the consequences of incest or sexual relations among relatives. 

The Facebook page of VinCentiments, the production studio Yap is part of, earlier announced that it will soon release “The Cousins: Minsan sa Pinsan,” an online series about incestuous love between first degree cousins, on their YouTube channel.

This post, however, was deleted after drawing a backlash.  

Some critics managed to make screenshots of the post and shared it on Twitter.  

In the now-deleted post, Yap and VinCentiments sought to explore incestuous relationships in the Philippines, arguing that these incidents do happen among Filipinos. 

However, the slant in their writing appeared to condone and tolerate such sexual activity despite the various science-based reasons many countries, including the Philippines, that deemed it taboo. 

“Sexual relationships between first cousins are stigmatized as incest in some cultures, but tolerated in much of the world. It’s safe to say that sex between distant cousins might not fall within our legal and definition of incest,” the post read. 

“Make no mistake, we do not condone incest. We do not say we like it. But things like this do happen. And like homosexuality, this subject is still considered taboo and is usually frowned upon by the conservative sector,” it added.  

In the same statement, they questioned the line drawn on sexual acts between individuals of the same kin.  

“Is it ‘insanity’ to do it with your ‘insan’? If we can agree that two consenting adults be allowed to practice safe sex, it’s not clear why we should draw a line based on genetics,” the post read.  

“The Cousins” comes after the success of “Sakristan,” Yap’s  digitial series that tackled the “boys love” genre or fictional stories that featured homoerotic relationships between male characters in the Philippines.  

On Tuesday, Yap’s name landed on the top trending list of Twitter Philippines as critics expressed disgust at how he and the series allegedly normalizes incest.

Others denounced Yap’s comparison of LGBTQ relationships and incest.  

Another online user, meanwhile, noted that Yap’s reputation for producing controversial films makes this upcoming one on incest troubling. 

The indie director is known for his short films released through VinCentiments on Facebook and YouTube.  

However, some of his works earned widespread backlash over perceived highly offensive content.  

In 2019, he directed a full-length movie titled “Jowable” which became a box-office hit in local theaters and was later acquired by streaming giant Netflix. 

Why incest is wrong according to science

Merriam-Webster defined incest as “sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry.” 

Incest also refers to “the statutory crime of such a relationship.” 

In an article of a science publication called Live Science, two psychologists Sigmund Freud and Edward Westermarcoffered different views on incest. 

Freud proposed that people have inherent “incestuous urges” and that these needed to be repressed or stopped. In contrast, Westermarck argued that people naturally avoid incest because those who grew up together tend to find each other less sexually attractive.  

Genetic effects 

The main reason why countries prohibit incest is the development of rare birth defects of incest-born children.   

ThoughtCo said that the risk of such mutations is not high unless inbreeding occurs over several generations.  

The genetic disorders commonly seen in these children are: 

  • Limb malformation 
  • Blindness 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Congenital heart disease 
  • Neonatal diabetes 

Other defects include reduced immune function, fertility and birth rate, and increased facial asymmetry and risk of cardiovascular disease.  

The article cited the House of Austria, considered one of the most influential royal houses in Europe, as an example of long-running inbreeding or consanguineous marriages which spanned six centuries.  

“The last ruler of the line, Charles II of Spain, displayed a number of physical problems and was unable to produce an heir. Experts believe inbreeding lead to the extinction of the royal line,” the explanation said.  

Legal aspect 

In the Philippines, incestuous marriages are illegal by virtue of the Family Code of the Philippines 

In Articles 37 and 38, siblings, whether full or half, and blood relatives up to the fourth civil degree are among the marriages considered incestuous and void from the start.  

Psychological trauma 

Some cases of sexual violence and abuse are also incestuous, particularly between fathers and daughters.  

An article of Psychiatry Times also said that incest can be considered abusive if the individuals are “discrepant in age, power, and experience.” 

The author, Dr. Richard P. Kluft,explained how incest out of “experimentation” is also exploitative in nature.  

“The argument that a younger person may have desired, sought, or given consent is irrelevant. Those very behaviors may have been groomed, coerced, or generated in response to perceived pressure and/or threat from the more powerful person,” Kluft wrote.  

This could also lead to traumatic bonding, he said, wherein the person accepts abuse in return for attention.  

“Incest often leads to traumatic bonding, a form of relatedness in which one person mistreats the other with abuse, threats, intimidation, beatings, humiliations, and harassment but also provides attention, some form of affection, and connectedness,” Kluft said