Unafraid: Welcoming A New Generation of Women | BICOL TODAY

Unafraid: Welcoming A New Generation of Women

By  Trisha Kaye Atutubo

I’d like to think 2017 has been a definite milestone for women. 

Earlier this year, the Senate Bill 1326 or the Safe Streets and Public Spaces Act of 2017 has been enacted to answer to the increasing number of sexual harassments in our country, most especially against women. Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter also became general outlets for victims of sexual assault and abuse. “Catcalled in the Philippines” is one of these avenues that aim to call out perpetrators of abuse against women by sharing first-hand accounts of victims who send in their experiences. Similarly, Twitter has also been a big help for victims who want to come out of hiding. This, in particular has been the source of several reports of sexual misconduct from local bands like SUD and Jensen and the Flips. This phenomenon also extends to the international scene. Several Hollywood actresses call out Harvey Weinstein for sexual abuse which inspired this month’s Time Magazine issue: The Silent Breakers.

You can say it’s a domino effect, in a sense that one strong woman encourage more women to stand up to the prejudices of society and continue to fight in this long battle for gender equality. Sadly enough, most people do not take it as empowering as it should be. One very common response I have consistently noticed whenever a woman speaks out is that people always find something wrong with her. Either she’s dressed provocatively or that she’s not in the right place. Frankly, we should all know better than to blame the victim. Who in the right mind would want to be abused, anyway?

I have heard this ancient idea from a lot of people and I’m sure this has been embedded in our culture (and other cultures as well) way deeper and older than you and me. “‘Wag kang magshorts, mababastos ka”, they would usually say. Some of you may think it’s a harmless statement but let me tell you, it’s just one of the many thorns of a humongous, hard-to-kill, not to mention disgusting cactus called Misogyny.

Misogyny by definition is the prejudice against women often manifested in sex discrimination, belittling, patriarchy, violence and sexual objectification. Given that cringing definition, it’s obvious it’s not a good ideology to be associated with. Yet distressingly, most men aren’t actually aware that they are misogynystic especially with seemingly innocent statements such as “do not wear shorts or revealing clothing”; which is why it is with this cluelessness that we should bring to light how small acts like this contribute to a very revulting social issue.

  1. It’s a matter of respect.- I get it, people think they’re helping women to avoid being disrespected by other men thus, the warning. But truth is, clothes do not dictate the person. Women can wear whatever they’re comfortable wearing, just as men can. Persuading women not to revealing clothes so as not to be disrespected is insinuating that she only deserves to be respected when she wears modest clothes. She is a person (first and foremost) and regardless of how she looks like or what she wears, she deserves to be treated as such.
  2. Being a man is not an excuse. Gentlemen, your sexual libido is not a privilege. If you’re a guy and you see a woman wearing shorts and you immediately think of inappropriate thoughts that drive you to act on it, the problem is not her. It’s you. This is where your morality and your values come in. So don’t use that well-abused excuse that men are easily aroused, because there’s a reason why we are humans and not mutts. We have been given the ability to reason out and think logically; therefore, we should use it in putting ourselves in place. Women are people just like yourself. Not objects of sex.
  3. Quit the stereotyping. I mean seriously, stereotyping is what narrow-minded people do. If you see a woman wearing shorts and immediately assume she has loose standards, it only proves how little your brain is. Try to contemplate if you still have even little hiya or knock yourself in the noggin’ to help make it work. What if these women are professionals who contribute to the society more than you do? What if they are your mother or your sister? Even if a woman strips bare in front of you, if she says no, she means no.
  4. We are all equal. Misogyny in the Philippine setting comes from a very long history of patriarchy (no thanks to Spanish Conquistadors). We have been taught that only men can do important things and women are to be kept at home to tend with the kids and do the more mediocre tasks. Which is why some men think it’s okay to disrespect women. Well if you’re one of these people, you should have been left in the Spanish era. There is no place for you in this progressive society. Newsflash: women are just as capable as men. Just ask our women in the PNP, our female engineers and scientists, or any woman in a physical workforce. And last but not least,
  5. Do not be a sheep. Misogyny has been proven to be a very persistent opponent. We have been fighting against it for the longest time and I can honestly say we are still far from victory. Which is why we have to start now, within ourselves. It doesn’t mean that because it’s what we’ve gotten used to, it’s okay to still do it. Speak up. Stop making excuses. If you see any form of violence against women be it physical abuse or even just simple catcalling, call them out. Tell them it’s wrong. For in keeping silence do we cultivate this deadly plague. Don’t be afraid. Do not go with the flow.

Women empowerment continues to be a strong advocacy up to this day. Do not let the fire die. Let your voices be heard. We are not called strong, independent women for nothing.


*Trisha Kaye Atutubo – communications trainer, a graduate of BA Language and Literature University of the Philippines, Baguio

Posted by on December 31, 2017. Filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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