16 Apr The Mess We Ourselves Created Featuring: FEMINISM
JUAN SAYS: “Equality for all” that is the battle cry of Feminism. Equality of what? What do we really mean by equality? Men can roam the beaches without their shirts on, would any woman in her right mind do the same just because we cry for equality? When men can be found drinking in sari-sari stores, downing liters and liters of Red Horse beer, does that mean that women MUST do the same because we are fighting for equality? What does it really mean?
We believe that the cry for equality must be clearly defined before we all “fight” for it for the simple reason that we, women, find it hard to fight for something that we don’t clearly understand. Again, what are we really fighting about?
Sure, the ideals of feminism may work in a world where women are clearly oppressed – Africa, the Muslim countries and the like, where women are mutilated because of tradition; where women are not allowed to have a good education; where women are being married off against their wishes for a fee, for a bargain; where customs allow child brides – 12 year olds or younger to marry men who can be as old as their lolos just because. But in a country like ours, how would feminism work when our issues are not as grave as those aforementioned? How then can we, women fight for said equality when we still do not understand what equality are we fighting for? We have jobs, good ones at that. We get promoted and without bias, we are often promoted to higher positions for our abilities to empathize with people and for our compassion for our co-workers, not to mention our abilities to be diligent and not stopping at anything because we are women and we were conditioned to be resilient. Again, what does equality mean for many Filipino women?
We believe that Feminism, much like any other ideology is not a universal concept that every country must embrace. If anything, every country must dig deeper into its own system, its own women on the issues that should be addressed by an ideology. Truth be told, we may not have mutilation issues nor do we marry off our women, but it is that character, the resilience of every Filipino woman that we believe has gotten her in much trouble with herself today.
Filipino women in the most far-flung communities are conditioned to be the working force of their society. They are no longer stay-at-home mothers and they have grown up to understand that they are lionesses – those that actually do the hunt to feed their children. It is the women who bring home the bacon so to speak, and the men now clearly have equals, partners in their respective relationships, and no longer just the child-bearing kind that our grandmothers were believed to be. But this quality, this trait, this conditioning of women has gotten them into further trouble than we already know.
It is the women, for fear of not being able to provide a good future for their children, venture into slavery, human trafficking, prostitution and other dignity-stomping jobs. The endless crying of their children has indeed pushed these women to do unthinkable things so they can provide for their children. Where then is the partnership? Where then is equality? Where then is feminism?
Mahirap ipaintindi sa isang ina na naririnig ang iyak ng gutom niyang anak kung ano ang equality. Mahirap ipaunawa sa isang babaeng nakikitang mamamatay sa gutom ang kanyang pamilya na huwag ibenta ang sariling dangal dahil sa kanyang payak na pagiisip, hindi sila mapapakain ng kahit isang milyong dangal pa. Mahirap ang isang idolohiyang pinaniniwalaan naming elitista ang pagiisip na ipaliwanag sa mga babaeng simple lamang ang problema. Mahirap ipaintindi ang karapatan ng kababaihan sa isang babaeng sawi at sumakabilang-bahay ang lalaking inaasahan niyang kasama niya sa pagtaguyod ng kanilang pamilya. Mahirap. Mahirap talaga.
We can’t treat the third-world problems of this country with a first world ideology. Magumpisa tayo sa umpisa. Hindi ito laban ng babae kontra lalaki. Hindi ito simpleng issue ng pagsipol ng Pangulo at sa kanyang pagkondena sa pambababae. Walang babaero kung walang papatol. Walang papatol kung walang babaeng may mahigpit na pangangailangan. Well, there will be a few with lose morals who would just because they want money and prestige, but that is not the point of this story.
Magumpisa tayo sa umpisa. Ano nga ba ang imahe nila sa kanilang mga sarili? Ano nga ba ang pagtingin nila sa kanilang mga pagkatao? Doon tayo mag-upisa. We need to make women understand that they are powerful beyond measure, that they can dream big dreams and want better lives for themselves – better, we mean a morally upright life that would preserve their integrity and dignity as human beings. Self worth. Self respect. Doon tayo magumpisa. We have to encourage them to see that they are beyond their sexuality, that they do have talents and that they are a force to reckon with if they are given the proper education and the proper training. We have to make them understand that being rich is not everything, that there is no short cut to success, that success is not measured by how much you have but the longevity of a career or your value in the work force. Life is not about one shot deals. Hindi pwedeng ibenta mo ang sarili mo ngayon at kakain ka na bukas. Hindi pwedeng ibenta mo ang sarili mo ng isang taon at aasahan mong may kakainin ka habang buhay. Life doesn’t operate that way, and we have to make these women understand that.
There is dignity in labor, we will stand up for that. A skilled woman is more powerful than a woman who knows her ways with men. A skilled and intelligent woman has more staying power in the workforce than someone who offers nothing but sex. Tatanda ka, papangit ka at magmemenopause ka rin. So saan ka pupulutin?
So before we screw up other women’s brains with ideas of feminism, can we fix our women first?