Tag Archives: Women

Ariana Grande: The New Face of the Young Feminist

I immensely enjoyed the feminist-charged open letter music star Ariana Grande made on social media. Apparently, the singer/actress has had it with the double standard women are still experiencing to this day.

arianna grande feminist rampage
Ariana Grande’s open letter on social media.

This standard, as she points out in her letter, is the significant disparity women are (knowingly or unknowingly) being thrown at today such as: sex, dating, relationships, and being valued as men’s property/conquest/trophy. She mentioned that she has so much better things to talk about other than who she’s seeing (or not seeing). At only 21, this young woman who is rising as one of the most watched out artists of her generation, is on the right track to empowering herself (and consequently, her young female fans as well). Brava Ariana!

For a woman who is much older than Ms. Grande, I’m glad that younger women today are beginning to sense that one-sidedness and becoming vocal about it. I applaud her for bringing her thoughts out into the open. However, young as she is, she has more to learn from her much experienced sisters. With that said, I would like to take the time to point out her seemingly contradicting letter vis-a-vis her current professional situation.

In an industry where sex sells, Ms. Grande will have to take a firm stand against the kind of lyrics that degrade women. In her recent hit ‘Love me Harder’, you would know immediately that this was a love song. However, there are ‘love songs’ and there are ‘love-making songs’:

“And if in the moment you bite your lip
When I get you moaning you know it’s real
Can you feel the pressure between your hips?
I’ll make it feel like the first time…”
– ‘Love me Harder’, Ariana Grande

From the lyrics above, the listener of the song immediately gets a mental picture of what the song is about. In my humblest opinion, if she were really adamant in battling this double standard, then her principles should reflect in her work as well. The young Ms. Grande should go beyond what normally ‘sells’ in her workplace.

In this day and age, there are still so many female singers who continue to make songs that sexually degrade both women and men. With young female artists like Grande who are now perceptive to that kindle of consciousness, they will be setting the tone for the kind of music young people will be listening to years ahead, which eventually translates to future culture.

I’ll try to cut her some slack on her lyrical choices for now. But hey, I’ve got to hand it to the girl, she’s on the right track.

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The Rise of the Filipino Baby Mama: Acceptable or Inevitable?

In this country, the number of single unwed mothers is escalating.

According to a few expat friends, apparently being a single unwed mother in the Philippines is deemed “acceptable” now. Though the point of what is acceptable or not in this culture is still up for further study and discussion, we did find common ground that it is never “acceptable” for the presumed father to abandon the mother and child thus leaving them without financial support.

Too many of these single, unwed women end up unable to support these children from wedlock. Many of those women have to turn to unsavory work in order to support the child because the fathers often do not. A friend of mine sums up this social and moral concern perfectly: “Personally, the inability and/or refusal to support your child is immoral, if not, should be found as a criminal act.”

You can go into any bar here in the Philippines and talk to the many women working in them and it is often the same old story over and over again. And this does not only encapsulate your stereotypical bar girl but even educated, professional, single women who are struggling to make ends meet in order to provide for their child.

The number of single unwed women is increasing and in the Philippines it is happening way too often. In fact, it seems that most girls here think that having a baby is the greatest thing in the world – kind of like getting a new toy, but that wears off awfully quick once the honeymoon phase is over.

In the Philippines, it seems that finding a child with two married parents is the exception instead of the rule. Find a Filipino guy that does not think its OK to bed any girl he can. It is this same macho attitude that permeates most developing countries. Given the lack of education, guidance, leadership, apathy and female empowerment, Filipino women are always on the losing end. Unwed mothers, has it become acceptable? No I don’t think it is acceptable, but given the circumstances, I think it is inevitable.

Anyone can have sex and make children, lots of it. But to be a parent? Now that takes a lifetime commitment. To my educated readers, it goes without saying that sex education is paramount. Though using contraception may not be deemed moral in a religious country such as the Philippines, but don’t you think it even more immoral if another defenseless human being suffer a lifetime of impoverished existence? So before you unzip, (and this goes to both parties) think and ask yourself: Am I really ready to be a parent?

In relation to the above, I’ve detailed some items below that hopefully could be of use to some women who read my website, particularly Article 194 – 208 of the Philippine Family Code. Remember: ignorance of the law excuses no one.

Technicalities: Claiming Child Support

For the single mother and child to survive, it is crucial that support be demanded from the father. To claim or demand support, the single mother must first prove that the child is related to the presumed father. Once proven, the written claim must be sent to the father with proof that such demand was received. In case the father disputes his paternity, this can easily be established by a DNA test.

If the father of the child refuses to provide child support despite receiving a written demand, the single mother can now sue the father for child support.

In case a child is taken away without the consent of the mother, the mother can file a civil and/or criminal case under Republic Act No. 90262, or “The Anti-Violence Act against Women and Children”. Or, she may choose to file kidnapping charges under the Revised Penal Code. In case the father, who had been given access, takes the child away contrary to the terms under which he was given access, the mother can sue him under RA No. 9262 or file a petition for contempt against him for violating any court order.

Basic Principles of Child Support:

  • It is everything that is indispensable for food, shelter, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation in keeping with the financial capacity of the family
  • It is joint (whether the parents are married or not), based on the proportion of the resources
  • It is based on the needs of the child and the means of the parents (there are no fixed percentages or rules on how much child support will be given)
  • It is never final (as the situation changes, so, too will child support requirements)
  • It must be demanded.

An excerpt from the Family Code of the Philippines on Child Support:

TITLE VIII

SUPPORT

Art. 194. Support comprises everything indispensable for sustenance, dwelling, clothing, medical attendance, education and transportation, in keeping with the financial capacity of the family.

The education of the person entitled to be supported referred to in the preceding paragraph shall include his schooling or training for some profession, trade or vocation, even beyond the age of majority. Transportation shall include expenses in going to and from school, or to and from place of work.

Art. 105. Subject to the provisions of the succeeding articles, the following are obliged to support each other to the whole extent set forth in the preceding article:

(1) The spouses;

(2) Legitimate ascendants and descendants;

(3) Parents and their legitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter;

(4) Parents and their illegitimate children and the legitimate and illegitimate children of the latter; and

(5) Legitimate brothers and sisters, whether of full or half-blood

Art. 196. Brothers and sisters not legitimately related, whether of the full or half-blood, are likewise bound to support each other to the full extent set forth in Article 194, except only when the need for support of the brother or sister, being of age, is due to a cise imputable to the claimant’s fault or negligence.

Art. 197. In case of legitimate ascendants; descendants, whether legitimate or illegitimate; and brothers and sisters, whether legitimately or illegitimately related, only the separate property of the person obliged to give support shall be answerable provided that in case the obligor has no separate property, the absolute community or the conjugal partnership, if financially capable, shall advance the support, which shall be deducted from the share of the spouse obliged upon the liquidation of the absolute community or of the conjugal partnership.

Art. 198. During the proceedings for legal separation or for annulment of marriage, and for declaration of nullity of marriage, the spouses and their children shall be supported from the properties of the absolute community or the conjugal partnership. After the final judgment granting the petition, the obligation of mutual support between the spouses ceases. However, in case of legal separation, the court may order that the guilty spouse shall give support to the innocent one, specifying the terms of such order.

Art. 199. Whenever two or more persons are obliged to give support, the liability shall devolve upon the following persons in the order herein provided:

(1) The spouse;

(2) The descendants in the nearest degree;

(3) The ascendants in the nearest degree; and

(4) The brothers and sisters.

Art. 200. When the obligation to give support falls upon two or more persons, the payment of the same shall be divided between them in proportion to the resources of each. However, in case of urgent need and by special circumstances, the judge may order only one of them to furnish the support provisionally, without prejudice to his right to claim from the other obligors the share due from them.

When two or more recipients at the same time claim support from one and the same person legally obliged to give it, should the latter not have sufficient means to satisfy all claims, the order established in the preceding article shall be followed, unless the concurrent obligees should be the spouse and a child subject to parental authority, in which case the child shall be preferred.

Art. 201. The amount of support, in the cases referred to in Articles 195 and 196, shall be in proportion to the resources or means of the giver and to the necessities of the recipient.

Art. 202. Support in the cases referred to in the preceding article shall be reduced or increased proportionately, according to the reduction or increase of the necessities of the recipient and the resources or means of the person obliged to furnish the same.

Art. 203. The obligation to give support shall be demandable from the time the person who has a right to receive the same needs it for maintenance, but it shall not be paid except from the date of judicial or extra-judicial demand.

Support pendente lite may be claimed in accordance with the Rules of Court.

Payment shall be made within the first five days of each corresponding month or when the recipient dies, his heirs shall not be obliged to return what he has received in advance.

Art. 204. The person obliged to give support shall have the option to fulfill the obligation either by paying the allowance fixed, or by receiving and maintaining in the family dwelling the person who has a right to receive support. The latter alternative cannot be availed of in case there is a moral or legal obstacle thereto.

Art. 205. The right to receive support under this Title as well as any money or property obtained as such support shall not be levied upon on attachment or execution.

Art. 206. When, without the knowledge of the person obliged to give support, it is given by a stranger, the latter shall have a right to claim the same from the former, unless it appears that he gave it without intention of being reimbursed.

Art. 207. When the person obliged to support another unjustly refuses or fails to give support when urgently needed by the latter, any third person may furnish support to the needy individual, with right of reimbursement from the person obliged to give support. This Article shall particularly apply when the father or mother of a child under the age of majority unjustly refuses to support or fails to give support to the child when urgently needed.

Art. 208. In case of contractual support or that given by will, the excess in amount beyond that required for legal support shall be subject to levy on attachment or execution.

Furthermore, contractual support shall be subject to adjustment whenever modification is necessary due to changes of circumstances manifestly beyond the contemplation of the parties.

References:
http://www.smartparenting.com.ph/mom-dad/relationships/Single-Moms-and-their-Child-Support-and-Child-Custody-Rights
Family Code of the Philippines, Article 194 – 208

MissTolentino supports the HeforShe Movement

I was so moved with Emma Watson’s speech. I agree with her on so many points and I would like to share the full transcript of her speech with each and everyone of you.

I have also disliked the term “feminist” as it denoted an anger against men. I highly value men and boys, but society (and distorted views on gender differences) dictate that feminism should be on an aggressive and hating stance. It need not be. It’s time to break free from this stigma.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are, and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence…

I want men to take up this mantle so that their daughters, sisters, and mothers can be free from prejudice, but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too, reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned, and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves. 

Attention Woman! Men are also our partners in achieving this freedom.

Brava Miss Watson!
***

Today we are launching a campaign called for HeForShe. I am reaching out to you because we need your help. We want to end gender inequality, and to do this, we need everyone involved. This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN. We want to try to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change. And, we don’t just want to talk about it. We want to try and make sure that it’s tangible.

I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women six months ago. And, the more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.

For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.

I started questioning gender-based assumptions a long time ago. When I was 8, I was confused for being called bossy because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents, but the boys were not. When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media. When at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of sports teams because they didn’t want to appear muscly. When at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings.

I decided that I was a feminist, and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, I’m among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men. Unattractive, even.

Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one? I am from Britain, and I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.

But sadly, I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to see these rights. No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality. These rights, I consider to be human rights, but I am one of the lucky ones.

My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume that I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influences were the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists that are changing the world today. We need more of those.

And if you still hate the word, it is not the word that is important. It’s the idea and the ambition behind it, because not all women have received the same rights I have. In fact, statistically, very few have.

In 1997, Hillary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly, many of the things that she wanted to change are still true today. But what stood out for me the most was that less than thirty percent of the audience were male. How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?

Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society, despite my need of his presence as a child, as much as my mother’s. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a man. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are, and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong. It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, instead of two sets of opposing ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are, we can all be freer, and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

I want men to take up this mantle so that their daughters, sisters, and mothers can be free from prejudice, but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too, reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned, and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves.

You might be thinking, “Who is this Harry Potter girl, and what is she doing speaking at the UN?” And, it’s a really good question. I’ve been asking myself the same thing.

All I know is that I care about this problem, and I want to make it better. And, having seen what I’ve seen, and given the chance, I feel it is my responsibility to say something.

Statesman Edmund Burke said, “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.”

In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt, I told myself firmly, “If not me, who? If not now, when?” If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you, I hope those words will be helpful. Because the reality is that if we do nothing, it will take seventy-five years, or for me to be nearly 100, before women expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates, it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls can have a secondary education.

If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier, and for this, I applaud you. We are struggling for a uniting word, but the good news is, we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I invite you to step forward, to be seen and to ask yourself, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

Thank you very, very much.

The Men I Look Up To

There are some men we meet on the street not knowing they have extra ordinary stories to tell and lives to show. These men are people I find to be:

  1. Morally and spiritually upright
  2. Intrinsically kind and compassionate to others
  3. Have humble hearts
  4. Have the greatest respect for the sanctity of marriage and family
  5. Full of wisdom** and possess common sense

**note that instead of putting intelligent, I wrote wise. There is a big difference between the two but I will write about that in a later post. Moving on…

Personally, it is very rare for me to admire and look up to a man. Very rare.

If ever I do, the men that I do look up to have one thing in common: they are morally upright.

Their lives are great testimonies of such convictions.

A part of me yearns to be ‘just like them’.

They say that strong women look up to stronger women. However, it can also be that men can inspire a great deal in women to be better and stronger as well.  This is why men are called to be leaders of the family. Not in a domineering way as most Neanderthals conceive it to be, but moral leaders that women can admire and mimic.

A friend of mine and I were talking about the topic of efficient dating (also in another post). She mentioned that she would never date a man she didn’t look up to. I asked her, in what standard?

She mentioned strength of character. I made a quick assessment of myself: Do I have that kind of character to be worthy of such a person? Of such a man?

The simple answer was: I am still a work in progress. As a woman, I still have to develop my own character strengths to be worthy of him.

The best source for character development? The Holy Bible is a good place to start.

Amazing as it sounds but there is truth that everything else follows when a person is guided by scripture and prayer.

Never let a potential date convince you otherwise.

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