Learning

They say journals are good learning tools. I am documenting a few things I  have learned from the past few weeks.

I am done with my fieldwork with a group of home-based women workers. They are highly skillful. They can create doormats, jewelry boxes, fashion accessories, and other crafts.

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If you have a group of women who are senior and who practically know more than what you know, what else can you possibly contribute? So what we did we made a series of workshop with topics on gender and personal development. It was also one way for us to get to know them more as part of our community immersion. We at least tried to be creative and resourceful.

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share your dreams with vision board
share your dreams with vision board

Lesson learned:

You do not have to “teach” so that others can learn.

We don’t develop people, people develop themselves (Julius Nyerere)

As cliché as this may sound but experience is the best teacher. There’s nothing like spending time with the community.

Skill/s gained:

How to think on your feet

What can be improved:

Let the hands do the work

Activities that keep your hands busy fosters better participation.

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We did a gender sensitive training for kids. Gender and sexuality for kids? It’s quite heavy and serious themes for children but there’s always a child-friendly way to do it. We had three main activities. First, we asked the kids to draw body parts of boys and girls. And they had a nice sketch of body parts. Second, we let them categorize photos of toys or items according to gender. Third, we asked all them to draw specific jobs like doctor, teacher. It all boils down on three points:The only difference between boys and girls is their body parts. Boys and girls can like the same things. Girls can do what boys can do.

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My group mates in Feminist Pedagogy

Skill/s gained: Patience! Haha

Kids are more challenging compared with adults because they show you that they’re bored or uninterested. There was one participant who did not want to do the drawing activity and when we asked him why, he just replied “

Tinatamad ako (I’m lazy)” That was brutally honest!

What can be improved:

On my end, I think what needs to be improved is time management. They have short attention span.

And have some extra kindness, fairness and friendliness

It helps to have one figure of authority

 

 

 

Dear Men

Photo from http://www.komando.com/happening-now/246615/the-latest-crazy-photo-meme-baby-suiting
Photo from http://www.komando.com/happening-now/246615/the-latest-crazy-photo-meme-baby-suiting

I am writing this for my hypothetical son so that when he grows up, and someone asks him, “Are you man enough?”, he can get over it. He does not have to answer on “what it takes to be a man.” There is no effort to be a man. There is no effort to be a woman. It should always be effortless to be who you are.

Dear Men,

You must have heard this for most of your life. “Man up”, “Are you man enough?” Courage by all means has no gender and everyone has the capacity to be vulnerable. Yes, vulnerability is a capacity. If you take away the person’s need to express fear, sorrow or dismay, you are taking away what is innate in human.

Many women complain that most of their sufferings have to do with men. menstruation, menopause, or “men oppose” but believe me you are our comrades.

It doesn’t not matter if you were created first nor how you were created. Whether you are products of evolution or family planning, it does not increase or decrease your value in this world. It does not matter if you are made of steel, bronze or metal. It does matter if you come from the ground or from left over of star dust. You are too intricate, and too complicated, to determine which elements you are made of. I will simply describe you in the way that it is written in Genesis, in the likeness of His image.

If you think you are authorized, entitled, I’d simply say: You have the power. There are many kinds of power but not all kinds of power are meant to lead or control. Choose your power wisely.

Most of our lives, we imprison ourselves with brand names but brand names do not indicate our purpose in life. Let us refrain from using our gender as an excuse or privilege. “Because I am a man” and “because I am woman” cannot explain the talents we have, the principles we keep, and the sacrifices we make.

In this lifetime, it doesn’t matter who wins and loses. It doesn’t matter who leads or submits. It doesn’t matter who has more or who has less. It doesn’t matter who is stronger or who is weaker. Love is the greatest equalizer. For when we love, we based our actions not on our roles, on our strengths, but for the welfare of others.

Keep this in mind that you are not limited or defined by your testosterone.

And let’s face it. You are not complete without women. Your genetic makeup speaks so much about it. For your XY chromosome, you owe it to your mother. The mere fact that all men have X chromosome is a tribute to women. Hence treat every woman as your sister, daughter and mother. No son would want to see his mom objectified. No father would want to see his daughter get hurt.

Your role is not to save a damsel in distress. Your role is to save the world from bondage, to save it from greed and oppression. Be an agent of change. Your role in the lives of women is to uplift them. Let it be known that they do not need heroes. They are heroes too.

Read more about women, but not on how to date a woman, or how to take her out. Read on their contributions in history, culture, literature, revolution and others. We need to hear more of them because for the longest time, we left women out of the pages of our books. Let us dream together for a better place to live. And maybe someday there will be no history, herstory but only “our story.”

Wide Awake

One morning, I woke up and decided I wanted to pursue women’s studies. On that same morning, I browsed through the university’s website and grabbed the phone for inquiry. I was not expecting the college would still welcome my application for graduate studies. It was already on the mid of April, the deadline for application and evaluation of most colleges. Coincidentally UP changed its academic calendar which led to postponing the department’s deadline.I took it as a sign from heaven that it was meant for me.

Yes, it was impulsive. It did not take me days to decide whether I should spend four years of my life in grad school. A conversation with my cousin last Christmas just popped on my head. He gave me the idea: “Why not study about women?”

I don’t know how it began. I grew up in a loving household. My childhood was not memorable but it wasn’t traumatic as well. I have had a pretty normal life but I have always been interested on women issues. I bleed everytime I hear stories of women who are undervalued and mistreated in their social context. I  get inspired when I hear powerful message for women.  Sometimes my blog talks lightly about women empowerment. I have written essays online about women. I am much pleased that I echo sentiments of other women.IMG_20131008_191427 Even before I knew the word feminism, I have always had feminist inclination. When I was a young girl, I asked men why they did not allow their wives to work or continue their studies . I felt uncomfortable when people around me discussed how a woman’s clothing could invite disrespect and rape. I had been gender-sensitive. I could not enjoy my lunch while having a conversation filled with sexist remarks and victim-blaming mentality. IMG_20140430_182418 When I started studying women and development, I was able to validate my feelings and convictions towards the stereotype given to women. Sadly, at this day of age, gender ideology to be exact, breeds oppression. My professor said: ” There’s nothing wrong with gender ideology. It is our reality. But if you are going to use it to alienate, to discriminate,to eliminate, it becomes a problem.” Gender inequality is not a small problem but it is a global problem. It affects labor force, economy, commerce, health, and personal relationships. It affects the entire human race. We are losing a lot of human potential by excluding women in the marketplace, in policymaking, and in services.

As I continue with the course, I have read a lot of negative impressions about feminism. It seems that the western world has painted an unfavorable image of feminism. But closely examining theoretical frameworks and development approaches, feminism works best not only for women but also for men; not only for individuals but for the society as whole. It posts questions that our government, our society should have answered ages ago. There is discomfort in finding answers to these questions. People who are pessimistic about feminism fail to see that those who need this movement most are the marginalized women from the lower class and from the third world countries. Watch Emma Watson’s speech

I am now on my second semester. I am not sure where my studies will take me but I must say, I am enjoying the process. I study primarily to feed my brain which my routinary lifestyle cannot provide. And I study to find a place where my ideals are met or challenged. I just want an egalitarian world where we can all use our talents and make choices for ourselves. Free~2