by Andrienne A. Espiritu, CED-IDS
In 2019, the Department of English of the College of Arts and Social Sciences conducted the 2nd Women’s Month on-the-spot essay writing contest.
This year’s Women’s Month, the Institute is featuring the winning entries of last year’s essay writing competition.
Below is the 2nd runner up essay entry written by Andrienne A. Espiritu of MSU-IIT Integrated Developmental School.
Woman. Who is she to people? Is she the Mother who lights a house with Grace and sacrifice? Is she the fiery member of the workplace who works day and night with the vision of hum but never the roar. Is she the shadow of a weary man’s success? Woman, always the essential darkness of somebody else’s night.
Throughout history, women have been marginalized and oppressed in this patriarchal society. They are often subjected to lesser roles and menial jobs; or worse, not expected to work at all. Society has always put women as an extension or being next to men. Because of this, they have learned to slowly blend in the background, to work behind the scenes, to stay silent in a world dominated by men. But when a staggering fifty percent of the world’s population is oppressed and forced to stay on the wayside, it does not take long for them to realize their worth, to start seeing a world where they may be significant. The role of women has drastically changed over the course of history, thanks to people who fought for women’s rights. However, we have not completely eradicated the division between men and women. In some parts of the globe, there are still people who stereotype women, immediately assuming they are of lesser roles, classifying them as housewives, or denying them opportunities. There are several cultures that believe a woman exists only so that she can be sold, married, and be of service to men. There are many practices that we are blind too because some of us are privileged enough to live in a society where women are rising to the same roles as men. Ironically, there are still women who have not realized their worth and freedom, women who continue to be oppressed, abused, and treated as objects. And it is up to the empowered women to raise the marginalized women along with them.
We have taught women to build themselves smaller than men. Taught them that if they can offer thunder and the man can only produce a mere clap, then they should stay silent instead. Women have shrunk themselves to a size men can conveniently handle. They try to fit in the small boxes this society has built for them when clearly, they are made for something much bigger. They stay at home brewing ideas with the knowledge that if they come out of the world, it would be a magnificent sight. Despite the struggles that women have been through and continue to go through, nothing stops them from achieving their absolute best. When we look back in history, we can see that many women have excelled in fields traditionally assigned to men or believed only men can achieve. For example, Ada Lovelace, known to be the first computer program. Who would have thought that a woman could also excel in an area dominated by men? Marie Curie, the first person to win a Nobel prize twice in two different fields of science. She paved the way for many discoveries we now have. There was Frida Kahlo, whose bold paintings opened up conversations on taboo topics about women. These women had the courage to jump through loops, to go through needle-sized holes with the knowledge that the pathway towards success for women is laid out with more swerves and bumps. These women and many other women who fought courageously have shed light on women’s contributions in today’s society.
The women that we see today are empowered women. They continue to contribute to various aspects and excel at what they do. They radiate motivation and exude excellence; they are pioneers of change. They are equipped with the knowledge that they have the ability to change the world. They are no longer afraid to step out into the light. From the many years of living in the shadows, they have come to realize that the light they’ve been taught to stay away from is a brightness they yearn. To bathe in this light is not a fault, to find happiness in recognition is not something to be ashamed of. In this modern world, women are foundations for success. They venture into the world not as inferior beings but as equal partners alongside men. They explore new ideas and touch topics they’ve been afraid to open up before. They inspire other people. Children too looked up to women. The daughters of today’s society are filled with hope knowing that they are able to grow in a healthy world where they are not criticized for being a woman. The women of today are leaders, achievers, innovators; they are power with grace, a strict motivator with an inborn sense of love and compassion.
They say a woman finally becomes herself when she speaks without permission. And every word, every action, every deed that a woman does today without fear of being judged is a justice for all women who have fiercely fought the battle for equality. Woman. Who is she to the people? She is the raging anthem for every hopeful soul and the burning fire that swallows all fear and darkness. She is the figure that does not only stand up for herself but for thousands of other women who stand alongside her. She is no longer confined into darkness; rather, she dances underneath the warm light. She is fearless with her mouth and tongue and the unfailing courage to speak up. She is unbothered by society’s double standards and she will fight for her rights and the rights of other women who do not have voices to speak their truth. She is a woman. Fearless and brave- everything a woman is born to be.
Andrienne is an 18-year-old senior high school student from MSU-IIT IDS and is currently enrolled in the STEM strand. Her dream of becoming a board-certified ObGyn stems from the fact that she wants to dedicate her professional life working with women and empowering them. She strongly believes in being environmentally conscious and tries her best to practice an eco-friendly way of living. When she is not caught up in academic work, she likes to bake, write, watch slam poetry videos, and binge-watch tv shows. She is slowly learning to appreciate parts of herself society forces her to discard; she hopes to help others do the same.