The talk about gender has really been prominent worldwide and as it thrives in a newer environment through time, many concerns have been discussed in its different aspects. The advent of cases involving gender harassment and other violations have been widespread throughout the country through media influences and other factors. Throughout time, the flagrant uprising of advocacies upholding the rights of one’s gender, for example, feminist groups and the LGBT advocacy, have been really evident and are mostly considered as important matters in society. Along with these issues are contradictory notes regarding gender empowerment and equality. Some believe not in the 3rd gender and others contradict feminist advocacies. As society develops, so as the perspective of people who dwells within it. Gender inequality, for instance, has been a very sensitive issue in society which is frequently talked about.
Political discussions regarding this matter continues, however in some countries, although the influence of policies and laws are present, some people still stay ignorant towards this subject. Possible reasons behind this is the practice of gender inequality in the household itself. At a young age, some children are exposed in the possible unequal treatment of boys and girls. Adults often lack idea on how these simple things can affect a child’s perspective of gender roles which he/she can develop over time. With all the talk about gender, we have to be very sensitive when it comes to this matter. We have to be familiar with the different aspects of gender which has a very essential role in developing societies, where people have diverse views and perspectives regarding different issues with gender in their respective communities. I.
Feminist discussions concerning different views of society to women has a noticeable increase throughout the years. As the feminist movement drastically increases in developing countries, people now can comprehend that feminism does not only focuses in one aspect rather it is a collection of movements and even ideologies which is aimed at establishing equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women.
Along with the upsurge of different feminist groups is the escalation of multiple questions of gender difference, dominance, and diversity in different social aspects. Feminism has a great influence in the lives of women, not only in the Philippines but throughout the world. Focusing on the talk about gender as a social construction, the idea that gender is socially constructed is a view present in many sociological theories about gender. According to this view, society and culture create gender roles, and these roles are prescribed as ideal or appropriate behavior for a person of that specific gender. “Gender as a social construction is somehow a theory of knowledge in sociology that examines the development of jointly constructed understandings regarding gender of the world (teara.gov’t.nz).” The norm that women are inferior to men is somehow just a psychological concept that just progressed in changing societies. Gender difference for example is explained through this: “Girls are more physically and neurologically advanced at birth.
Boys have more mature muscular development but are more vulnerable to disease and hereditary anomalies. Girls excel early in verbal skills, but boys excel in visual-spatial and math skills. Boys’ superior mathematic abilities, however, reflect only a better grasp of geometry, which depends on visual-spatial abilities. Boys are more aggressive, and girls more nurturing. Boys have more reading, speech, and emotional problems than girls (Hetherington Park).” Gender differences define those differences that exist between men and women. Gender differences by definition take into consideration the fact that outside the box, it is impossible to control for the interactions between people and their environment. Subsequently, gender dominance has also been a recognized subject matter along with the upswing of gender differences. For feminists, the question about gender dominance is one-sided with men, which is one aspect they fight for. The major feature of the social status of men and women is the dominance of men in every aspect of modern life. This cultural-developed male dominance can be explained in many ways and from a variety of perspectives.
As what society had seen throughout the years, men are the dominant group while “the other” are the subordinated group in the community. The mere fact that men have more power and privilege than women is seen through different attributes of human life like work, sexual relationships, political aspects, even in the media, and the like. All of which are contrast to feminist viewpoints that men and women should have equal rights in all properties of society. Third is the note in gender diversity. This issue is obviously the most eminent in the present generation. Gender diversity has existed throughout history and across cultures. The concept is based on a distinction between sex and gender. Gender-diverse people, for example, define themselves and even behave, in ways that are not expected of people with their biological sex. They are often described as “Transgender” people. The same as the feminist groups, the LGBT communities upholds gender equality and they fight against discrimination. Feminism played an important role in uplifting the morale of women.
It opened up issues that were once being hidden because of gender discrimination and violence. Over time, the ideas which were constructed through the benefit of this increasing action became widespread around the world, bringing about the uprising of changes in the perspective of society towards women. The current generation now introduces women as stronger individuals with equal rights such as men. Job opportunities have been opened-up to all varieties of gender, although some do not because of technical issues. International gatherings regarding gender empowerment, for example, have also been introduced to different communities. Feminism truly emerged from just a mere concept to an ideology of gender empowerment and equality between men and women. II.
The Philippines’ approach towards feminism was not evident until the 1900’s just after the colonization of Spain. The Philippines as we know of, has different eras/periods, the pre-Hispanic era, before the arrival of the Spaniards, the Spanish period, the American period, the Japanese occupation, and contemporary period, what we refer to as the free democratic Philippines. Different views about gender have been prominent in each era, due to the influence of cultural, political, emotional, and other aspects. Feminist groups here in the Philippines have based the different changes in sociological views towards women in its historical dimensions.
There is a clear distinction in the notions of diverse people in different eras towards gender, specifically women. For example, as discussed, the Pre-Hispanic era was a period where women enjoyed just as much equal rights as the men, the Spanish era however, exhibited gender subordination towards women. Many women during the Spanish era were deprived of their rights while men, on the other hand, were given enough privileges in so many things. The evident change in gender practices is an outcome of the western culture which was brought about during the Spanish era. The situation changed gradually with the arrival of the Americans. America, being a democratic country, influenced the Philippines in such a manner where liberation is introduced. “Liberal ideas and attitudes affected manners, dress and thinking about women especially in the urban areas (Gender in historical perspective).” With the mark of the Japanese occupation came the concern about sexual harassment among women.
The military presence in the Philippines during that time brought about the rise of women as “sex objects”. Lastly, in the contemporary period is the revolt against gender inequality and women subordination, which was an obvious cause that women are much more liberated and fight for their rights rather than staying silent. Among the turning points in the history of the Filipino woman, I will discuss three of the most significant in the likes of a typical Filipina. The first is her clamor for a more enlightened education. This point has led to the idea that women should, like men, be imparted with equal rights of education, which was absent during the early and mid-years of Spanish colonization. This construction had displayed the desire of women towards knowledge and empowerment. For feminists, education is a right rather than a privilege, for them, women deserve to be educated so as to develop their mental capacity, leading to much bigger job opportunities and positions in society. Nowadays, education is a free public right for people of all genders.
The discrimination that “women are dumber than men” have long been forgotten because of this turning point. Second turning point is her involvement in the Feminist Movement. It was just in the early 1900s when the Filipinas got involved in feminist movements against women subordination. The influence of western culture had really altered the cultural perspective of society towards women. The post-Spanish era left an environment wherein men are exceedingly superior to women. The note on privilege and power has been the center piece of the feminist movement. The Filipina involvement in Feminism has altered the seemingly silent, Maria-Clara Filipina into a revolutionary woman whose aim is to develop gender empowerment in the society. The effects are beyond compare. Today, women empowerment has been very evident in developing societies.
International conventions about women’s rights have been prominent in many countries, including the Philippines. The last turning point is her admission to labor unions. In the Spanish era, women had been deprived of professional work, rather they only stay at home as caregivers and some refer to them only as child makers or the like. Again, this is also a point in gender dominance, as men should have greater privileges in the field of work rather than women. The Filipina’s admission to labor unions aided the uprising of women in getting equal job opportunities. The influence of Americans during that period is also a great factor in the movement. Women have to cope up with the industrialization of the Philippines. The note regarding liberation is another factor which also contributed to the active movement of women. Today, women can have the right to choose her own job, and not be deprived of it. III.
Early gender socialization is one of the most relevant issues in early childhood, affecting both boys and girls. The foundations for stereotypes in gender roles are laid through early gender socialization. Right from the beginning, boys and girls are treated differently by different members of their own environment. They even learn the differences between boys and girls, women and men. Gender socialization is intertwined with the ethnic, cultural and religious values of a given society. At an early age, I was exposed to an environment where gender is varied. As an innocent young boy, I have no idea on how differences between boys and girls are identified. I can still recall how I would say that girls have long hairs while boys have short hairs, simple as that, no more questions and back to playing. The innocence of a child results to its young mind, being easily influenced by people he/she is usually with.
For instance, in my case, my family has been one source of my socialization during childhood. They usually would buy me things or clothes colored blue. For an innocent boy, I would be questioning why I have all my things colored blue while my sister’s are pink. So as buying me superhero printed shirts while my sister’s shirts are Barbie printed. And then they would answer, because I am a boy. The household has an extremely great influence, in a child, identifying his/her gender. Second source of my personal gender socialization is society itself. I would be hand-picking my friends, well normally, a boy would have also boy peers. Friends would say that boys are told not to cry, not to fear, not to be forgiving and instead to be assertive, and strong. Girls on the other hand are asked not to be demanding, to be forgiving and accommodating and “ladylike”. These early exposure to gender roles and expectations have large scale effects, especially to me, as a child. Presently, I can identify my gender as masculine due to these influences in my childhood.
My development through different stages in life proved to have improved more of my understanding about different gender roles. As what society looks at men, I look at myself as a strong individual that should be able to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of a typical man in society. Strong, hard-working, fearless. Frankly speaking up until now, I always believed that some gender roles and characteristics are quite accurate as what I have seen in the current progressing societies. Before, I only believed that men should be superheroes while women are just saved by heroes. But today, looking back to what I have learned about the different points in gender, I guess I really have a very long way to go.