Sisters against sexism


IT’S NOT easy being a woman. We may be better off than the women of yesteryears, but we’re still far from being equal with men.

For one, there are certain stereotypes and biases associated with women. Like early on, she’s “conditioned” to prefer the color pink and play with Barbie dolls. And then later in life, she’s expected to marry, be adept at house duties, embrace child-rearing—be the perfect housewife.

Since women have no space outside the home, they have stereotypically been labeled as bad drivers, are seen as less competent or committed at work, and called troublemakers because they’re daring and sexy.

Stop right there. Discrimination and disrespect towards women are totally unacceptable.

On International Women’s Month, let’s take it from some of our “brave” sisters: “You’d be prettier if you lose weight.”



“A few years ago, I used to be over 200 pounds and then I had to lose weight for health reasons. I would get unsolicited advice from a lot of men—including strangers—to lose weight so I’d be attractive enough to find a husband —as if getting married was the one thing a woman should aim for in her life. Today, I’m 60 pounds lighter, but it’s the same thing… men still tell me to lose weight so I’d be prettier. What’s worse, now I get sexually harassed on top of being told to diet. I’m judged for my “improved” appearance instead of my skills and personality; and a lot of people perceive me to be less intelligent and stereotype me because of the way I look. It is frustrating having to work harder to be acknowledged for my achievements beyond my face. The struggle is very real.”– Max Bolongaita, writer, radio host and a proud feminist

“Pssst… Hi, gwapa!” “I remember one of many similar experiences. I was waiting for a jeepney along with other women along Escario Street and some guys whistled at us. One of them said, ‘Kana ra akong nakaputi kay gwapa!’ and followed by another, ‘Kana lang akong nakasayal kay lamig paa.’ I was really annoyed. I confronted them for being ‘bastos’ and said they should think about their mothers and sisters, to respect women. They just laughed. Sure, it may be easier to ignore these things, but I am not that type of person. In a non-hostile way I express my disapproval of any act of sexual harassment.” – Debb Acebu, vocalist of the indie band Honeydrop

“Walking with my daughter to school every day, we’d pass by a makeshift shelter for construction workers. As if it isn’t bad enough to get catcalls from a group of men by the street, but I get these even with my daughter around. I feel terrified but angry at the same time at how these men have no respect. This is not the kind of environment I want my daughter to grow up in. Twice, I called them out for making vulgar comments, and especially after one of the workers said, ‘Lamia sa imong anak.’ Terrifying, yes, but I would encourage everyone to stand up for themselves and to help make this world a safer place, especially for young girls. – Cammy Benedicto, businesswoman



“You wear too skimpy clothes.” “Don’t say we’re asking for it when we wear clothes that we’re most comfortable in. These are my breasts. These are my buttocks. They’re not for you to touch. If that shirt looks flattering on me, I will wear it. Those jeans that accentuate my curves? By all means, I will put them on. Our choice of clothing shouldn’t have an impact on whether or not we get home safe. – Bia Anathalia Labastida, medical representative

“Relaxing as a visit to the beach may be, often it makes women a little too anxious about what to wear or how they’d look because of  prying eyes, what with the prevalence of social media. On one hand, you have those who deem that they’re doing it for attention, while scrutinizing every inch, color and curve. Womenshouldn’t be restricted from wearing whatever makes them feel comfortable or look good, but of course in accordance with good taste or normal standards of the community. You, men, don’t assume that women are doing it for you, so stop looking at them like a piece of meat. To women, I say stand up for our fellow women. – Cris Esgana, law student and a girl who loves the beach

“You’re the manager?” “I’m only 24, already a manager, plus I’m female. Meeting me for the first time, some people would question my competence and have this impression that I’m no match for the competition especially since most of the stations are run by males, much older ones. I get comments like ‘Oh, you’re the manager?’ I feel like I have it harder because I’m young, and female at that. But I take their reactions as a challenge. When I accomplish something and I’m able to show what I am capable of doing… it’s the best feeling in the world! So people, never judge or underestimate someone on the basis of gender or age. – Jannah Ingan, radio manager



“Ay, babaye man diay.” “I have been on the road for more than five years now, so nobody can question my driving skills. My car windows have a light tint so other motorists could see me driving to work, from Talisay to Mactan. What pisses me off are motorists wanting to overtake and when I don’t give way to them they give me that look. Very arrogant men. For the years that I have been driving I can almost read their lips saying, ‘Ay, babaye man diay.’ This really upsets me, why women drivers have a bad reputation. Are men always the better drivers? Then again I just try to maintain my composure, because letting all this affect me ruins my day. I’d smile at those irritating drivers, which makes them smile in return. If they only knew… I want to get even by hitting their vehicles, but then I love my car more. – Gwenith Jill Rabor, marketing and communications officer of Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino

TAGS: Cebu, Equality, female, gender, sex, sister, sisters, woman, women
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