We list down 2018’s toxic exes — and why we gotta let ’em go

Art by Mags Ocampo


Skip the inspirational quotes for your New Year’s resolutions. All you need are the immortal words of Queen Ari: “I’ve learned from the pain, I turned out amazing… and for that I’ll say thank you, next.” And boy, did 2018 give us our fair share of stuff to move on from — though the specifics may be muddled without careful reflection.

Young STAR lists down this year’s toxic exes because there shouldn’t be room for this baggage in your future. Now quit stalling, and say sayonara to these bad boys:

Acute machismo

The patriarchy is alive and well, thanks to lewd politicians, dirty-mouthed frats and then-closeted sexual offenders. To all the boys who resemble Brett Kavanaugh, the Pick-Up Artist Academy or Upsilon: man up. That means keeping it in your pants. That means seeing women as fellow humans from the get-go, not as obsessions or outlets. And for those of the digital mob waiting for fresh meat, we’re called to be critical instead of cruel. Telling a kid bully to die is no better than toxic, violent masculinity.

Racial tunnel vision and misdirected Pinoy pride

Is “Filipino” defined by blood and skin, or upbringing and habit? Racial identity was a huge discussion this year, and we’re nowhere close to a concrete answer. Yet the uncertainty, in some instances, has led to needless drama. Take Kelsey Merritt becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel — question society’s Eurocentric beauty standards all you want, but leave personal attacks about her “Filipino-ness” at the door. As for esteemed economist Winnie Monsod, we’re sorry to hear that she’s cancelled all Tsinoys as loyal countrymen. Those were dangerous words for a column, the kind to breed the very distrust she spoke of. No more generalizations, please.

Pashout-out culture

Praise only feeds the ego, not the stomach, nor the necessary materials for your craft. We expected Jameson Blake, as an actor and dancer, to know this stuff. So Twitter exploded when he asked a graphic designer for a logo and intended to pay the artist with a mere “shout out.” That’s not okay. And it seriously sucks that people other than Blake devalue creatives in the same way. Still, let’s keep our fingers crossed and fighting stance ready in 2019, to assert our work’s — and our — worth.

Life-threatening challenges

Sure, it can be fun to groove to Drake. Yeah, those squishy Tide Pods look an awful lot like Jellyace. But dancing beside moving cars (to an overplayed track) and gulping down detergent are terrible ideas, made worse by how they went viral. Self-destructive entertainment shouldn’t exist to begin with, and if this is your idea of letting loose, we urge you to rethink your life choices.

Microwaveable poetry

These are the poems descended from sadbois and Lang Leav. These are the lines of Rupi Kaur and a certain NJC. These are relatable, because they’re clichéd and romanticized hurt — in questionable grammatical form. If you stan this, fine, but the challenge is to let more eloquent work represent you. May the New Year be for discovery.