Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2023

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Dr. Vivian Lu

Second Advisor

Caley Johnson, Ph.D.


As a consequence of a long colonial history under Spain and then the United States that lasted over 300 years, Filipinos have internalized a sense of cultural and ethnic inferiority known as ‘colonial mentality.’ When it comes to Filipino women, who have historically entered into romantic or sexual relationships with their colonizers, in which they were often mistreated, degraded, and discriminated against, colonial mentality continues to have an impact on their dating behaviors, attitudes, and experiences. This paper reviews a variety of literature, drawing particularly on qualitative sources such as personal narratives and interviews, to build case studies that effectively illustrate the ways in which colonial mentality continues to shape how Filipino women, specifically Filipino American women, navigate romantic relationships. What the paper essentially seeks to answer are the following questions: In what ways might colonial mentality manifest in the dating behaviors, attitudes, and experiences of Filipino and Filipino American women? What does this mean at the individual and the societal level for Filipino women? A sweep of the literature evidenced an apparent pattern across (1) the ways in which Filipino women characterize themselves as romantic or sexual patterns, (2) the criteria by which women evaluate dating partners, and (3) the ways in which women behave in their romantic relationships, which are discussed in the paper and later analyzed through the framework of colonial mentality and the Colonial Mentality Scale as developed by psychologists E.J.R. David and Sumie Okazaki. Overall, the purpose of the paper is contribute to the growing body of knowledge on Filipino psychology and to address a gap in the literature on colonial mentality and Filipino decolonization studies by drawing attention to Filipino American women, an often overlooked population in Filipino studies and in Asian American studies in general, and shifting the focus of colonial mentality from the intrapersonal to the interpersonal.