I am proud of being a woman and for what I have become. I am proud of all the things that I have achieved. I am proud of the mindset I have. I am partly raised by a strong mother, who raised even stronger daughters — daughters that are irrepressible and fiercely independent. I grew up with an elder sister whose strength is also unrivaled. I was surrounded by women that are bright, brave, hardworking, and all the beautiful words that describe a woman.
While I am proud of who I am, it saddens me to think that this is not often the case for many women.
I will not act like a hypocrite here. In the past as a little girl, I’ve often desired to be someone other than a woman. It’s challenging to be a woman in a patriarchal society. The double standards that have been enforced on us are really disappointing. It’s heartbreaking to be addressed “babae ra ka” in many scenarios. Anything we fail to do represents the entire gender but the things we achieve are “good” because we are women.
I know you’ve been through a lot. I understand how it might feel like a heavy stone has been placed on your shoulders at times. You do not deserve to be called names just because of the clothes you wear since they are comfortable for you. You do not deserve to be questioned every time you achieve something great. You do not deserve to be paid less simply because you are a woman. You do not deserve to be harassed simply because you attract men. You don’t deserve to feel unattractive just because you don’t meet the standards of the man you like. You do not deserve anything that this patriarchal society allows.
Anything that society tells you is not true. You are beautiful. You are powerful. You are brave. You are more than just your gender. You go beyond the kitchen, beyond a house, and maybe even beyond what you think is your limit. You are capable of leading. You are capable of driving. You are capable of working. You have the ability to be the “man” of the house. You can be in a male-dominated field. You can be anyone you want to be.
Thinking about all of the things that a woman has to deal with bothers and saddens me. Looking back in history, women battled so hard for equal rights and future women’s rights. It wasn’t a simple or quick battle, but it’s a lot better now than it was before. However, we should not be relieved that things have improved simply because we did not seek an improvement, but rather equal treatment. I am glad of the ladies that helped us achieve a better society for women. But now, let us all completely break the barriers, preconceptions, prejudices, and just put an end to all of these biases against us.
Women have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are capable of anything — that women are powerful, that we can conquer anything, that we can rule the world. However, you should be proud of yourself for being you and not just as a woman. You are more than just your gender.
Accept yourself for who you are. Love your smile like you love those of your loved ones, love your curves like you love those of models, love the dark and heavy circles under your eyes, love the stretch marks on your bodies. Look past your appearance and realize how beautiful your mind, your soul, and your heart is.
Be self-assured in your individuality and express yourself. It’s okay to be unique — to think outside the box. Even if you don’t realize it, you have the power to change the world, feel empowered, and then empower others.
Karylle Panorel | March 30, 2022