Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Modern Filipina

I was browsing the internet when I came across an article that really struck me. It's entitled "The Modern Filipina", written by Sasha Manuel for StyleManila.com.

Who is the modern Filipina?

With all the changes happening all around and having observed how the culture evolved for the past two (2) decades, I can’t help but ask the question. How do you define such a woman?

We have to admit that we come from a society filled with rules (not to mention, superstitions). Most of us grew up with strict and conservative parents, surrounded by meddling extended families (who often think that their opinions should be taken into serious consideration). Our actions measured and, oftentimes, directed by traditions and filial responsibilities. And, yes, women often suffer the worst end of the stick — underestimated, undervalued, and typecasted.

I grew up with voices telling me (that I’m also currently trying to debunk, I should add, and no, I’m not going mad, heh): plunging necklines, mid-rifts, short skirts and shorts, strapless/tubes, backless and bra-less outfits are sacrilege; t-shirts and shorts should be worn over bikinis (heck, it’s even “bad” to wear bikinis!) or swimsuits; having your photo taken in any manner that connotes something sexual (save that it’s already artless nudity — that’s a given, gah) is considered indecent; you should be timid and submissive (i.e. no ambition whatsoever); and, yes, this last one’s a classic — you should be thinking about marriage and family by the age of 25 PLUS say goodbye to having a career as soon as you do.

I can hear folks crying different sorts of things in outrage. Some will agree and others won’t but let me reiterate, this is based from my own personal experience and, yes, side notes are personal opinions as well.

Moving on.

Personally, I’ve changed. And since I believe that fashion reflects one’s personality, my personal style preferences grew up with the times; adapted to the shifted paradigm. Thinking things over helped me take a shot at a definition.

The modern Filipina then is a woman who embraces her colour and celebrates the culture and traditions that she grew up in. Armed with an accommodating nature, she opens herself up to outside influences that will edify and enrich her life. A woman who is not afraid to explore unchartered terrain for she’s aware of her roots; she knows where she came from. Her thoughts and opinions unabashedly materialise — reflected in her taste in fashion and makeup, at times — and she stands by it.

There is no shame in embracing one’s femininity and sexuality. Though, I show more skin and wear makeup or that I’m still single at 31, these things don’t make me less of a Filipina. Like I said, the country is evolving, so should the people living in it. It’s all a matter of filtering out the bad influences and exercising common sense. I’m not suggesting that you go against society, just don’t give it power over your life as a woman and as a Filipina.

How about you? How do YOU define the modern Filipina?

Growing up in a typical Filipino household, I am no stranger to irrational conservatism and the blurred line between religion and cultural conventions. Though there are many things about my culture I would love to do without (the meddling extended families is one of them!), I am eternally proud to be a modern Filipina.

A Filipina who appreciates her culture and roots, but seeks to break through the borders of closed-minded society for her own personal growth and awakening. A Filipina who is not afraid to break conventions and stereotypes for the better. A young woman who will let her passion and voice be heard, and yet still encompass the qualities a true Filipina possesses - grace, beauty, and strength.

Here's to you, the modern Filipinas out there. Celebrate and embrace your beauty.
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