Early Feminism in the Philippines
The Philippines has been noted as having one of the smallest gender disparities in the world. The gender gap has been closed in both health and education; the country has had two female presidents (Corazon Aquino from 1986-1992 and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from 2001-2010); and had its first woman Supreme Court justice (Cecilia Muñoz Palma in 1973) before the United States had one (Sandra Day O’Connor in 1981). These achievements reflect a long history of efforts by women to involve themselves equally in governance as well as in society.
I was expecting a little bit more from the post and was suprised a few of these Filipinas were left out:
- Gabriela Silang a revolutionary – a representation of female bravery – who fought against Spanish colonialism in the 18th century. Silang was a contrast to the chaste and religiously devout image of the Filipino lady as portrayed by Jose Rizal through his Spanish-language novels, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.
- Clemencia Lopez became the first Filipino to enter the White House and the first to testify before a U.S. Senate hearing as a representative of her subjugated people.
- Sofia Reyes de Veyra an educator, social worker and first secretary and co-founder (with Mary E. Coleman) of Asociacion Feminista Filipina, the first women’s club in the Philippines. Its establishment in June 1905 marked the start of the Feminist Movement in the country. She also organized the Manila Women’s Club which later became the nucleus of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs. This federation was in the forefront of the campaign to give women the right to vote and other rights. The women of the Philippines won these rights in 1931.
- Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo an UP cum laude graduate, medical doctor, 2012 UP Distinguished Alumni awardee and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) chairperson. While Dr. Araullo was UP Student Council vice chairman and an activist imprisoned for opposing martial law.
Unabridged version of Hercules, California Councilmember Myrna de Vera’s speech, delivered during the 2012 Filipina Women’s Network’s 100 Most Influential Filipina Women of the US
Philippines was ranked 3rd highest in Asia Pacific region for gender equality according to the Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement report released by global financial firm MasterCard. Yet there’s still PH laws that are unfair to women.
- Filipinas who were first in PH history
- I Am… Woman: Historic Filipinas
- #SexTalk: Who is the Filipina of today?
- Sampaguita Girl: The Pinay Activist Timeline
- Women play key role in PH peace process
- VIDEO: Where does the Filipino woman stand today?
- Of race and gender clashes: Do women rise above labels?
- 'Breaking the Silence': The truth about abortion
- Defending Filipino women from stereotypes
- Importing, exporting stereotypes: How do global Pinays cope?
- Barbara Jane Reyes: Virtual Blog Tour, Is Pinay Lit a Genre, and Tagging Others
- Denise Cruz’s Transpacific Femininities: The Making of the Modern Filipina
- Mina Roces’ Women’s Movements and the Filipina 1986-2008
- Melinda L. de Jesús’ Pinay Power: Peminist Critical Theory (reprinted this year)
- A systems approach to improving maternal health in the Philippines by Dale Huntington, Eduardo Banzon, and Zenaida Dy Recidoro
- Does Feminism Have to Address Race? by Latoya Peterson
- Early Feminism in the Philippines by Athena Lydia Casambre and Steven Rood
- Feminism and race in the Philippines
- Feminism and the present image of Filipino women
- Filipiniana: Philippine Women’s Studies
- News From the Tropics: Is there Feminism in the Philippines?
- Philippines: Feminists Converse on Social Movement Building
- The changing role of women in Philippine society by Cicely Richard
- The changing role of women in Philippine society by G. Fitzsimmon
- The changing role of women in Philippine society by Zakiya Mahomed
Monsters Together Part 1
Rating: M for language, sexual themes
Word Count: 1,290 words
Summary: Erwin Smith and Hanji Zoe are monsters of their own will and creation. Throughout their service as officers of the Scouting Legion, they seek in each other’s human flesh some reminder of what they sacrificed along the way.
Author’s Note: It has been awhile since I wrote (because of grown up job!), but I finally found time to at least begin exploring this story. The contrasts and parallels between Erwin and Hanji has intrigued me for a long time and I am hoping the connections I draw will also enthrall you, dear reader. Originally, this Eruhan fanfiction was going to be a one shot, but I’m breaking it up since it’s easier to write in manageable parts. Although short (as most parts will be compared to chapters in “Tension”), I’ve been eager to share the beginning with all of you. Enjoy~
Indie comic by Tepai Pascual
Maktan 1521 is an indie comic by Tepai Pascual that tells a romanticized story based on the historical battle of Maktan between Ferdinand Magellan and Datu Lapu-Lapu and his warriors in the year 1521.
The story involves the lives of Datu Lapu Lapu and his people and the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan and the Spanish Conquistadors.
One of the problems with Braille is that it’s typically printed in specialist books aside from the copies created for sighted people, meaning that those with sight difficulties can’t borrow their friends’ books and need to seek out the bookstores and libraries that cater for them. In the past, we’ve seen projects such as Thailand’s Mr. Light and Mr. Dark — which uses special typography to enable the blind and non-blind to read the same book. Now the FingerReader initiative from MIT provides visually impaired readers with a wearable ring that can scan written text and read it out loud. READ MORE…
Guys. Science has developed a talking ring that allows the blind to read books.
This is not only amazing, it is the stuff of fairy tales.
The Malala you won’t hear about
October 16, 2014
Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani activist, has won a well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize, putting her and her amazing, tragic story back in the spotlight. Per usual, nevertheless, the corporate media has taken this positive development and exploited it in the service of U.S. imperialism.
The corporate media loves talking about Malala’s remarkable bravery and strength in standing up for girls’ rights to education, and the brutality of the Taliban forces that tried to assassinate her on her school bus. Such coverage fuels its orientalist, neocolonialist narrative about “backward,” misogynist Muslims and their need for “white saviors,” thereby legitimizing Western imperialist interests in South and West Asia.
Malala’s Nobel victory can be appropriated by the U.S. political establishment to “prove” that its invasion, occupation and destruction of Afghanistan has “helped” its people. (As for the hundreds of thousands killed and injured in the process, well, those inconvenient exceptions aren’t part of this narrative.)
As Michael Parenti points out, while most people who win the Nobel “Peace” Prize do so for war-mongering and crimes against humanity (Henry Kissinger boasts one, for example, along with Barack Obomba himself), Malala actually deserves hers. This makes the exploitation even more grotesque.
Malala has devoted her life to fighting for education for children—a most noble and important cause. When she implored at the United Nations, “Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen, can change the world. Education is the only solution,” the Western intelligentsia ate it up like a voracious canine gobbling up its kibbles (on second thought, perhaps a vulture would have been a more apt choice for this simile).
Everyone can agree that education for children is a positive goal. By emphasizing that education is the only solution, the West can draw attention away from the very realmaterial concerns facing the vast majority of the world.
This oversight is by no means the fault of Malala. In that same speech, just before the above excerpt, she spoke of “a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism.” Two of these three things are endlessly emphasized throughout the corporate press. You can guess which one is excluded.
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The Malala Who Opposes Global Poverty
Roughly half of the world still lives on less than $2.50 per day. Around one-quarter of people live in extreme poverty, less than $1.25 a day. UNICEF estimates that 24,000 children under the age of five die each and every day because of poverty, meaning that “every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Usually, it is a child under the age of 5.” And, in many countries, poverty is getting worse.
Education certainly has a role in the fight against poverty, and it’s important that one learns, say, basic chemistry. (Malala was sitting in chemistry class when she was informed she had won the Nobel Prize.) But learning basic chemistry does not provide billions of impoverished people with food, clean water, and health care. That takes material, collective action.
Malala understands how poverty creates and perpetuates the very social and political ills against which she is fighting. She continuously stresses the importance of not just spreading education, but of directly combating poverty. Yet these calls fall on the selectively deaf ears of the Western media.
The press picks and chooses which of Malala’s messages are amplified—and which are silenced. It can hardly get enough of her insistence on the importance of “the philosophy of nonviolence I have learned from Gandhi, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa.” The Western intelligentsia positively salivates upon hearing such messages, despite the fact (or because of it?) that Gandhi was a virulent racist and Mother Teresa had ties to Central and South American dictators.
Interestingly, many of the same people lauding the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her advocacy of nonviolence also happily cheered on the violence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The utter hypocrisy does not strike them. After all, it has always been much more useful to advocate a philosophy of nonviolence for individuals and oppressed groups than hegemons and states.
As much as it highlights Malala’s words on education and nonviolence, the U.S. corporate media never mentions the side of Malala that it doesn’t like, the side of Malala that doesn’t serve but rather challenges Western imperialist interests, the side of Malala that overtly opposes not just U.S. drone strikes but capitalism itself.
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The Malala Who Opposes Drones
On October 11, 2013, Malala met with Barack Obama in the Oval Office. The press could hardly have lauded the president more for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet the 16-year-old activist, and for bringing his family with him.
What went much less reported was that at this meeting, Malala warned that U.S. “drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people.”
The White House, which, given its supposed investment in fighting terrorism, would presumably not be interested in spreading it further, left these comments out of its official statement.
Just a few weeks after this meeting, another Pakistani girl visited Washington to testify before Congress, and received much less media attention. Nabila Rehman was 8 years old when she was out in a field picking okra and her grandmother was eviscerated before her eyes by a U.S. drone strike. Seven children were also wounded, including family members.
Nabila’s brother Zubair, a 13-year-old who was injured in the US drone attack, told the five congress-people decent enough to show up, “I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer grey skies. Drones don’t fly when sky is grey.” The Rehman family’s story was so dreadful that the translator burst into tears while telling it to Congress.
Given such a horrific report, you’d think the U.S. government would express interest in learning from it to make sure random civilians are not again slaughtered by bombs falling from microscopic dots in the sky. Yet only five (out of 435) House members attended the hearing.
Al Jazeera writer Murtaza Hussein noted that, in a symbol of the “utter contempt in which the government holds the people it claims to be liberating, while the Rehmans recounted their plight, Barack Obama was spending the same time meeting with the CEO of weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin.”
Clearly, stoking the military-industrial complex that creates the Predator drones that havemurdered and injured thousands of innocent civilians is a higher priority for the president of the United States than meeting the actual victims of what can only correctly be referred to as state terrorism.
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The Malala Who Opposes Capitalism
Last year, I wrote a brief article titled Malala Yousafzai, Spivak, Abu-Lughod and the White Savior Complex. I noted that Gayatri Spivak, in her classic article "Can The Subaltern Speak?" explained that colonialist powers justify their draconian, parasitic rule with the belief that they are “white men are saving brown women from brown men.”
In her well-known essay, "Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?" Lila Abu-Lughod situated Spivak’s thesis in a contemporary setting, explaining how the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was justified with the exact same argument—the Bush administration was a group of overwhelmingly white leaders who consistently workedagainst women’s rights in their own country but now acted desperate to “save” Afghan women from Afghan men.
In his article Malala Yousafzai and the White Saviour Complex, journalist Assed Baig explored how this racist “white man’s burden” phenomenon is still alive and well, detailing the repugnant ways in which the West has exploited Malala Yousafzai’s amazing strength and bravery to support its interests.
Absent from many of these discussions, however, is that Malala herself is well aware of this manipulation. In a statement released on October 13, 2013, she defiantly declared that she is "not a Western puppet."
When discussing the way in which the neocolonialist West exploits and manipulates those working against oppression, one should be careful to establish that this is not done to them unwittingly. We are dealing with agents, individuals who understand the implications of their actions and change them accordingly. To forget this fact is, in a less overt way, to uphold the very paternalist, neocolonialist strictures we seek to destroy.
As Spivak reminds us, the subaltern indeed speaks—and not only speaks but resists oppressors. Articulated a bit differently, Arundhati Roy insisted, “There’s really no such thing as ‘the voiceless.’ There are only the deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard.”
The attempt to deliberately silence Malala is not only evident in the way the U.S. corporate media ignores her criticism of U.S. drones; even more insidious is its complete disregard for the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s politics. In March 2013, Malala sent this message to the congress of Pakistani Marxists:
First of all, I’d like to thank The Struggle and the IMT [International Marxist Tendency] for giving me a chance to speak last year at their Summer Marxist School in Swat and also for introducing me to Marxism and Socialism. I just want to say that in terms of education, as well as other problems in Pakistan, it is high time that we did something to tackle them ourselves. It’s important to take the initiative. We cannot wait around for any one else to come and do it. Why are we waiting for someone else to come and fix things? Why aren’t we doing it ourselves?
I would like to send my heartfelt greetings to the congress. I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.
This is the Malala the Western corporate media doesn’t like to quote. This is the Malala whose politics do not fit neatly into the neocolonialist, cookie-cutter frame of presentation. This is the Malala who recognizes that true liberation will take more than just education, that it will take the establishment of not just bourgeois political “democracy,” but ofeconomic democracy, of socialism.
When the courageous activist speaks of the importance of education and nonviolence, the West shouts her words loudly from the media mountaintops. When that same activist criticizes predator drones and, that most sacrosanct entity of all, capitalism, the silence is deafening.
Only the distinctive buzzing of U.S. killer drones can be heard, watching and bombing overhead, protecting empire and “freedom.”