• Flawless

    Carla Bianca V. Ravanes

    Carla Bianca V. Ravanes

    You were a feminist even before Beyonce sang about,” was what my younger brother quipped some weeks back, while I was mindlessly dancing to Beyonce’s “Flawless.”

    The rise of a culture saturated by Taylor Swifts, Lena Dunhams, Beyonces, Mindy Kaling, and Amy Poehlers have challenged the debate on what is it really like to become a feminist.

    Merriam Webster defines feminism as, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”
    Simply put, feminism means that we are all treated equally, regardless of gender. Today, women fight incessantly so as not be confined by gender roles.

    Growing up, I have seen my parents commit to equally important roles in our household— no one was more important than the other. My dad, who hails from a male dominated field, also never felt the need to impose that the “male” had more power in our home.

    Without realizing it, I have applied the same principles to the way I lived my life. In school, I wasn’t afraid to compete with boys in my class, whether it was for a spot on the student council, during debates, or even in rigorous sports.

    My high school didn’t have a girls’ basketball team so I practiced with the men’s team for about a month before they said it just wasn’t working. It’s safe to say that I was raised to think that there wasn’t such a thing as the “weaker sex.”

    I was also fortunate enough to be raised by a man who does not expect me to get married or to get ahead. There was none of that talk in my household. From the moment I watched my first Disney movie, my dad told me that I was to build a life of my own, and not dependent on men to build one for me.

    Since then, I aggressively went after my career and chose possible partners based on their intelligence, humor, and kindness, but never based on their jobs or social standing. There was no way that I was going to go after someone for his money or fame. I am there to encourage and support my partner and his achievements but never take credit for it. My dad frowns on the idea that his daughter was just going to be “someone’s wife.” And it’s good to see that more women are taking the stand.

    Today, women are not simply stepping out of “gender roles” but also recreating them. Personally, I think being a feminist doesn’t mean your anti-men or anti-marriage or anti-motherhood, but it means that you’re comfortable enough to make decisions that are right for you and no one else. It means you believe in your decisions and strong enough to fight for them.

    It means you no longer allow people to put you inside a box. It means taking a stand for those who are bullied and not letting men define your worth. It means you’re living a life of personal choice—not one dictated by society and definitely not one dictated by one person you’re involved with. It means being courageous enough to love who you see in the mirror and most importantly, it’s putting into good use what you have been blessed with.

    At the end of the day, I believe that the most important part of being a feminist is doing something to make the world a better place. Proudly owning this equality that women once fought so hard for, has to make a change in society. We have to be the kind of women who strive to make the world a little brighter than when we found it.

    Because if this equality is not used to serve others, then what other purpose is it for?


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    1. Hi Carla Bianca,

      Thank you very much for responding to my comments. You are very kind. Currently, I work for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. My official title is Children Social Worker. This is my 10th year with LA County. But I have been working as a social worker here in the US for 16 years. Largely, I am tasked with taking care of children from 0-22 years old who have been abused and neglected by their parents. I remove these children from their parents and place them with appropriate homes. There are about 40 thousand children who are in foster home in Los Angeles County alone. Currently, I have been assigned to what we call emancipated youth, eighteen years old and above. LA County gives them money to rent their own apartment but they have to go to school and work part-time. Often, in spite of government subsidy, these children do not graduate and they end up with the same situation as their parents. They go to the same vicious cycle. Part of my job is writing court reports where I update the Children’s Court about the children’s progress at their foster home. Although I love interacting with the children, listening to their stories, and connecting them to agencies which provide services for them, but I like writing reports for the Court.

      I haven’t been to the Philippines more than a decade now, although two of my children still live in Manila. We communicate through e-mails and phone. I have plans to visit the Manila in the near future. Also, I hope you would write again about your family, yourself, your friends and your observations about current life in Manila or about life in general. Again thank you for well written articles and observations. I will be looking forward to your next article.

      Thank you,
      Danilo Reyes

    2. Carla Bianca V. Ravanes on

      Hi Danilo! I apologize for the late reply. Once again, I would like to say thank you again for taking the time to read and respond to my article. It really makes me happy when people read what I write, and most importantly, thank you for your kind words about my dad. I believe that you have raised your children well too. :) Thank you for your kind words and your insight, do you write as well? I believe you would be great at it :)

    3. Good for you and your family! Your parents raised you very well. What stood out in your article for me is the admonition from your father. You wrote, “I was to build a life of my own, and not dependent on men to build one for me.” If this lesson alone is learned not only by women but also by men, we would be living in a different world. Indeed, dependency sidelines people in a corner. A feeling of a constant existential threat looms always inside one’s being, namely, abandonment. I may have taught my children this lesson because they all have their own careers but I may not have voiced it clearly enough as your father did. I wish, I had, so that early on, they would teach it to their children also.

      An offshoot of a lesson learned from your parents is an assertive and relentless attitude in pursuing your career. To write for a very prestigious paper is a testament that you have done very well for yourself. Achieving success at this stage of your life is immense. When I was growing up, timidity and passivity were the orders of the day. We were told to be subservient and kowtow to people in power. To a large degree, my children learned this idea because I modeled it for them. However, I’m glad, it did not sink in deeply because they are definitely more assertive than I am.

      I like the kind of feminism you described and practice. It starts with a simple lesson learned in the home about independence not in seminars and at the barricade screaming and shouting about justice and equality. Not that there is anything wrong with it. Perhaps there should be more seminars, screaming and shouting out on the streets about equality and justice. As they say, squeaky wheel gets the grease. The playing field must be leveled for everyone. Government must enshrine equality for everyone. But as you indicated, most often than not you have to pursue the good life yourself because nobody is going to give it to you in a silver platter. Again, thank your for a very well written…