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.


Louzee said...

You know what, I read this post a few days ago and have been meaning to comment on it. So that's what I'm doing now.

A lot has changed since I left the Philippines at the age of 10. I figured y'all were still outdated, uberly conservative, etc. but I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG. It's amazing how much Filipino culture has evolved. Women have grown to be independent and outspoken and the atmposphere has eased up a lot since what I can remember. I went to Ann Arbor Montessorri and remembered the curriculum involving a heavy Catholic foundation (which I had no problem with). I remember saying "po" "opo" to my elders and being completely respectful in every way. I still am very respectful, even living here in America. I don't know what it's called "mano?" you know when you take their hand and touch it to your forehead. I don't know if it's still done there. In any case, everything about the Philippines has changed. Any fad that was popularized in the USA, you guys already know about it, every song played in our radios, you guys have already heard it.

I feel like if you came here to Texas and stayed in my home, you'll feel down right comfortable. Modern Filipinas are really confident with their bodies and mind. Filipinas aren't as shy and demure as they used to.

Zaya said...

You got that right! And hopefully, this generation will bring a lot of positive change when it comes to our culture. It's time the Philippines rose up from the conservative ideals that hold our country back.

Ursie said...

Very interesting article. I somewhat find this culture in the Phillipines quite conservative. If I wear something different or show some skin, my mum would scold me.(Shes a Filipina.)And I would get stares at times. But when I was in the Uk for some time, most people show their best and style through their personalties and apperances. Brit teens tend to get quite rude at times and this annoys me(I'm a teen myself and they're behaviour is not acceptable at times).And they grow up so fast. I quite at least sigh in relief that Phillipine Youth does not follow this. They're quite family oriented compared to the UK. And I would say I'm bless to see that I was grown up in Manila and being with my mum. God only knows what would my behaviour would be if I grown up in the UK.
But I could quite see that its slowly improving and Filipinos are trying to be out of their comfort and would experiment. I could just see it now.

Faye said...

thanks for sharing!:)

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