When they said “Stay out of Politics so that you’ll still appear likeable to people,” my left brow raised. I will never understand why silence and blind obedience is likeable. I will never understand why I would crave to be liked by people who do not understand the importance of discussing topics like Politics and Religion. I would rather not be liked than submit to this kind of mindset.
In society where people are so used with silence and blind obedience, being vocal about Social Injustice means being different, especially when you are a girl. The term “Dalagang Pilipina” has long been interpreted by the Filipino community as being demure, silent, and being an obedient follower. That is why it wasn’t surprising that during the reign of Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Gray, she was bombarded by people who constantly told her to “stay out of Politics” or else it would backlash negatively on her image. Well, I’m glad that she didn’t listen.
Girls are told to just stay cute and sweet, so we stay likeable. When girls talk about bags, beauty, and shoes, nobody tells us to shut up. But when we open our mouths about critical topics, we suddenly become “Maldita.” Suddenly, we are overreacting and difficult to deal with. Our demure image suddenly vanishes, as if that matters.
Well, this article is for all the girls out there! This is me telling you to just be a badass!
Society has always supressed us into traditional Roles
I can still remember my moments of vulnerability when I was told to shut up, just because I’ve learned how to speak out. It was 2016, I posted about the Vote Buying problem in our province on Facebook. 15 minutes later, I received a call from my dad about it. He scolded me and told me to take it down ASAP. People from home saw my post and appealed to my father to take it down. Apparently, they are not only worried about our family’s political inclination, but were also worried about how unwomanly I behaved. “Ningon imong mga tiya nga nag maldita kuno ka sa Facebook”, he said. One of the most unforgettable encounter that I’ve had was when an uncle heard me voicing out my concerns to my father about Politics. This uncle pulled me to him tightly and whispered to my ears; “Women shouldn’t be talking that way. You are supposed to kneel in front of your father and be a good girl.” I was 18 by then, but I knew it wasn’t right. I wonder if I would be dragged around like this if I was born a man.
I can understand why so many women have grown used to being silent. That’s because whenever society get the chance to, they always plunge us back to where they think we belong. I can still remember when my lola told me that she requested her dad to send her to school after she graduated Elementary, but he refused and sent her to work as a Maidservant instead. I can also remember the countless times when my dad suppressed my mom’s ideas because he had always regarded his ideas as superior than her’s. Although our generation has made a lot of progress with this issue, we still have a long way to go. Critical-minded women are still regarded as difficult, and I don’t think that we deserve that.
As Women, why is it important to keep speaking up?
We need to continue speaking up because of 2 things.
First, we need to redefine society’s definition of what women are and what we can do. We need to break the barriers society has placed us. We need to normalize that women can engage in Politics. That women can lead. That women are not inferior. That women who know how to argue or those who know to say “No” are not difficult women, but are critical-thinkers. We are more than the role that this traditional society has labelled as to be. We are more than our makeup, our shoes, and our sweet demeanor. Our ideas are also relevant and significant as everybody else’s, and these ideas deserve to be heard. We are women, and that means a lot.
Second is because, we need to represent. We are a significant player in the society. Instead of letting all the others decide for us, we need to decide for ourselves. In our society where women remain to be marginalized, we need to provide a strong representation for ourselves. Moreso, it doesn’t mean that we only need to fight for us, women. We need to fight and provide support for others as well. We should not be silenced because voice matters.
I kinda got used to people rolling their eyes at me when I talk. I kinda got used to people shutting me down when I point out what’s wrong in the current system. I kinda got used to all the hate thrown at me simply because I speak out. I don’t care, and I’ve intentionally and unintentionally burned a lot of bridges along the way. I have always been very open with constructive discussions, but I will never be open to people who want me to stop fighting for Social Justice just because it doesn’t look good to me as a woman.
Cheers to all the bad girls out there. Let’s keep pushing forward. We are taking up an incredibly important space in the community, and that’s what matters!