by Kassandra A. Buenafe, St. Michael’s College
“She cried for the first time and the world judged her for who she was and took away her voice. She grew up in a world of bigotry, full of discrimination and prejudice but somehow along the way, she found courage and retrieved what she lost. Though it wasn’t a smooth-sailing journey for someone who was deprived with many opportunities and chances, the struggles made her a stronger and wiser person, ready to challenge the norms and the average.”
By definition, a puppet is a model of a person or animal manipulated by strings from above or hands from inside it. Its mobility – the things that it can and can’t do is controlled by an outside force, a circumstance and someone who has the power to move it. We may see this as an act of entertainment, only meant for satisfaction, but the thing is, this can be related to how society was and unfortunately to what it still is. Women have experienced worse than these puppets and have always followed the path intended for them. They have carefully acted out their roles in the drama written by this patriarchal society which always branded them as submissive to men thus making their existence less significant to the world. And she may have followed the standards for quite some time but a woman is bound to bring change. A woman is not synonymous to a housewife, domestic or silence. A woman has her responsibilities and is revolutionary.
In so many ways, women have proven that they possess insane courage and bravery to fight off the world’s injustices and cruelties. In the realm of women before, it was scarier and riskier to go against the laws. They were not given the right to suffrage and to be part of any political activity. A woman’s social role was only limited to taking care of the children and the husband, doing the laundry and all sorts of household chores. Society believed that a woman should only devote her time to these kind of pursuits rather than being involved in the complexities of politics as she is branded as frail and incompetent compared to a man. But women like Susan B. Anthony believed otherwise. She was one of the many women in the history who fearlessly fought for the right to vote. She relentlessly pushed that a woman and a man should live as equals. Many were killed and jailed during this fight. It was all blood and sacrifice to be able to get us to where we are today. Politics has now spared a room for women, allowing their sphere of influence to grow and their voices to be heard. Today, a lot of women are pursuing jobs that were considered as male-dominated. Many women have excelled in the field of medicine and science, military and in the news reporting. Through this, we can witness the impact women has brought to the society specifically in the economic growth as the parameters of their task go beyond the corners of a house. People around the world should begin and continue to realize that gender inequality is not just a problem faced by women but rather by everyone. Therefore, there has to be a collaboration among the different institutions and groups to fully eradicate the discrimination on women in workplaces, in giving out the social roles and privileges and in all aspects women face.
But in spite of the drastic changes brought by the civilizations of the world, there are still tremendous obstacles women face – from the objectification of their bodies through catcalling, domestic violence, sexual abuse to other forms of physical psychological abuse. Just because it’s not happening to you does not mean it’s not real. In the 21st century, there are numerous platforms one can use in order to empower and strengthen those who are mistreated, marginalized and left behind. Along with the technological advancement is the spreading of information on what needs to be done and promoting the rights of women. Whether you are a woman or not, you have the responsibility to advocate for equality and for a woman’s safety. There are a lot of movements that hold up the rights of a woman and are popularized in the social media sites allowing more people to be more informed and involved.
Everyone should envision a world where there is no gender inequality. It is our shared responsibility to continue breaking the notion that there are certain qualifications before a person is granted with his/her rights and privileges. A woman is equal to a man just as a man is equal to a woman. A woman is not a puppet because she has her own hands and a woman owns her world. She is not a disadvantaged but rather a phenomenal human being – always ready to challenge and change the world for the better.
This is the 1st runner up essay entry written by Kassandra A. Buenafe of St. Michael’s College during the 2018 Women’s Month on-spot essay writing contest hosted by the English Department.
Kassandra Buenafe is a graduate from the Humanities and Social Sciences strand of St. Michael’s College-Basic Education Department. She graduated With High Honors and was able to receive the Journalism Award. She has always joined the Schools Press Conference with feature writing in English as her field. She is currently taking up Bachelor of Arts in English Language Studies at Mindanao State University- Iligan Institute of Technology.