This article explores the ramifications of American actress Dovie Beams’s exposé of her affair with Ferdinand Marcos in 1970. The ensuing scandal provoked subversive laughter and provided ammunition to various anti-Marcos groups; significantly, some believed it enabled Imelda Marcos to accrue greater political power. The competing accounts of this affair raise questions about the politics of sex scandals and the role of First Ladies, but the turning point of Imelda’s rise to power was the declaration of martial law. Still, the Dovie Beams affair is no mere footnote in history because what is often downgraded intellectually as personal, private, or intimate has an important bearing on how politics is conceived, delimited, and played out in real life.
KEYWORDS: DOVIE BEAMS • FERDINAND AND IMELDA MARCOS • CONJUGAL DICTATORSHIP • SCANDAL • WOMEN AND POLITICS