Gender Diversity and Equality

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Activity

            First off, I think our first activity was really interesting because it showed how we all perceive the different sexual orientations. In the society we live in today, most people are still resistant to the other sexes other than both male and female. The good thing is, in this class we were able to show even the positive things we see in the other sexes like gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender males and females. I would say that the main thing we learned from our activity was acceptance. We were able to open our minds more in evaluating and presenting how each sexual orientation is perceived in both the positive and negative way in reality.

        With our group, we were asked to illustrate how we see transgender people. We drew the world’s first “pregnant man”, who was originally a woman that underwent surgery to become a man but retained his female reproductive organs. Personally, I do think that the negative thing about his situation would be the fact that being a transgender male is already one thing. Being a pregnant transgender male is another. I, myself fights for the rights of the LGBTQ community. But in reality, I think we could all say that the society we live in today is greatly affected and most people are definitely resistant with Beatie’s situation. This can be proven by Beatie’s own statements about the first doctor they approached to treat him during his first pregnancy. According to him, his first doctor was surprised with his situation and even asked him to shave his facial hair. Eventually, after Beatie had already spent two thousand dollars, this doctor suddenly told him that he would no longer handle Beatie’s case because he and his staff are not comfortable working with someone like him. As I’ve said earlier, we can never deny the fact that in reality, people would most likely not accept certain situations like this that goes against the standards of our society.

         On the other hand, basing on a first-hand experience, I actually experienced discrimination even by just being friends with a few bisexuals in high school. Even my parents were against me being close friends with them. My other friends were even against it, too, though they were not as vocal about it as my parents. I fought for my friendship with them and made my parents understand that they are my friends and the fact that they are bisexuals doesn’t make them not worthy of being my friends. Being bisexuals definitely does not make them any less of a person. In fact, they are one of my real close friends that time. Still, my parents didn’t like the idea of me spending so much time with them so whenever I go out with them, I do it secretly. They also noticed that I was really really close with one of them and said that it looks like she likes me and stuff. I know we got really close and we would even go out and spend most of our time together that we actually were like couples. Well, I know for myself that they are good people and they don’t deserve being treated that way by most people, not even by my own parents. There was even a time when I was confessing to priest, that I asked him about this. I was actually surprised with what he said. I was even hesitant at first in telling him about this issue, because I know what he would say. Of course, what I thought he would say is that I should listen to my parents and that bisexuals are not accepted by God. But you know what? He just asked me if I was really ready for this. If I was really ready for what other people would say about me being with them and even being in a relationship with one of them. He didn’t tell me anything more than that. Honestly, aside from the fact that I was surprised with his response, I was content about what he said and with the fact that I was able to confess to a priest who does not speak like any other priests and self- confessed believers and followers of God. Moreover, what that priest told me clearly shows how strongly our society gives importance to the things we are raised to believe as morally acceptable and actually forgets what being “moral” really is.

            Acceptance. This is what lacks in our society today. We don’t know how to let go and move on easily. We only cling to the things that we think is right only because it is what society tells us and resist things that we see as something new. This is something that we should slowly change, since our society is already maturing and becoming more liberalized today anyway. Being open-minded would not be a bad thing to do; instead, it would be a way of understanding and accepting the fact that we are already changing. Our society has grown, and is now full of things that are new to those we thought are only right and morally accepted. But do we really know what “morality” is? Do we really know what is it to become good Christians? Do we really know what is “right”?

Interview

            I interviewed my mom and asked her how she was raised and expected to act as a female during their time. My mother is Mary Katherine Villanueva; a wife and a mother to me and my sister. My mother’s background is actually complicated. Her parents got separated during her early years, so she and her older brother were raised by my Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather. She had a hard time growing up because my Grandmother went abroad and my Grandfather doesn’t actually take care of them and barely spent time with them. My mother was not the favorite of their Lola in the father side, so she would always spend time in Manila staying at her other Grandmother’s house, where she is the favorite. Eventually, she stopped staying in Manila and spent her high school years here in Cavite with her Lola and older brother. During their time were the times where adults were really reallyyyyy strict. Aside from the fact that she was not the favorite apo, she was also treated differently compared to my Uncle. She was the one who would clean their house before she goes to school and cooks her own meals when no one else is at home, since my Uncle was always out with his friends and their Lola and Dad were busy with their business.

            Basically, with everything that my mother told me, I learned that she was not treated the same way as my Uncle was during their time. She was only expected to take care of the house works and was restricted to go out and spend time with her friends like her older brother. Another instance showing the inequality of treatment between her and her brother was when she graduated from high school. My mother wanted to study in Manila, but unfortunately, her Lola said that she can’t study there. My Mom still remembers what her Lola told her that time, because of the impact it had on her. “Bakit ka pa mag-aaral sa Maynila, eh mabubuntis ka lang din naman,” was how my Mom recalls it. Evidently, this was how women were treated before. Parents, or in my mother’s case, grandparents were not obligated to send their daughters or female apos to a prestigious school because they would just eventually get pregnant and get married. Unlike for men,  they are considered to be the ones who need to have a better education, since they are the ones who will provide for their family.

          I know my mother is a very strong woman, and I know that if given enough choices, she would fight for what she wants. Unfortunately, what happened was that she still tried to talk to her Lola about what she wants, but given her situation, she couldn’t do anything else but to follow her grandmother since she has been the one who raised her and provided for her needs after their parents left them at the care of their grandparents. Even though she wanted to study in Manila, she didn’t have any other choice but to listen to her Lola on this one. Furthermore, there was another instance wherein she tried to follow her Lola again. This was when her Lola was against my Dad as her boyfriend that time. My Great Grandmother didn’t like my Dad since his family wasn’t rich, or something. Also, my Dad’s a Catholic and my Mom and her family are Protestants. My Great Grandmother was very much against their relationship that my Mom decided to end things between them. Later that day, when they already separated, my Uncle told their Lola that he saw my Mom and Dad at the plaza. My Great Grandmother got mad when she found out about this and didn’t even listen to what my Mom had to say. My Mom, of course got mad as well because she didn’t even ask her first and also with her brother for telling their Lola about what he saw, so she decided to go to my Dad and stayed at my Dad’s house. This was another case showing how strict parents/grandparents were towards their daughters/apos. But on the contrary, my Mother really did go against her Lola this time, unlike the first incident wherein she was not allowed to study in Manila.

Reflection

     Considering the fact that my Mom was raised by her grandmother, is one major factor of how she is raising me and my older sister. Also, another significant factor is because my parents got married at an early age. Given both the circumstances, my parents are somewhat strict on some terms, and quite open on other things.

            First off, ever since I was a kid, my parents would always tell me not to get too close with boys, because they think differently blah blah blah. I wasn’t really allowed to hang out with them or talk to them without my parents actually giving meanings to it. There are times when they would see me talking to some guy friends, and then they’ll ask me afterwards who that guy was and stuff. It irritates me, actually. For me, there is really nothing wrong with hanging out with guys and being friends with them. What’s wrong is my parents don’t trust me and would always think that there is something going on. Well, I know there is a good reason as to why they are like that, but still. I know the do’s and don’ts, it’s just that my parents won’t actually trust me. I am also not always allowed to go out with my friends that I always tend to lie to them about my whereabouts and all that. In fact, I am staying at a dorm right now. I thought I could get away and do stuff, but no. This is why I do believe in the saying that, “Strict parents create sneaky children” or even the “best liars.” In terms of these kinds of things, I can say that my parents are actually raising me similarly as to how their parents were towards them before. But in terms of things regarding my education and what my role would be in the society, they are actually treating me differently. I wasn’t the one who wanted to study in La Salle-Manila. What I wanted was just to study in La Salle- Dasma and take up Tourism. My parents thought that studying there won’t get me to the best places, and most importantly, that won’t help me get a high-paying job where I could be on top. They originally wanted me to take up nursing or any other science-related courses. Unfortunately, I don’t like the sight of blood or any other gross things. Also, I know I suck at Science and I don’t want to waste their money sending mo to a good school with a good course and all, and then still fail at the end. I guess they didn’t like the idea, too, so they decided to make a compromise and sent me to La Salle- Manila instead with a course we all thought is close to what I want to become. My Mom said that being an international flight attendant would be the best job I could get if my course is Tourism, but if my course is AB-ISE, I could become more than a flight attendant. I could become a Diplomat, Ambassador, a DFA employee, and many other jobs related somewhat to Foreign Service. I knew I didn’t have any other choice, so I just went for what they wanted and now I’m already in my third year.

            My Dad would also tell me at times that I should study well and graduate with honors, so I could be able to get a good high-paying job. This, according to him and my mother, could be something that my husband-to-be couldn’t take away from me. I guess what they’re trying to say is that my future husband, or in general, everybody would treat me with admiration for what I have become. My intelligence, abilities, job would be the things that I would be respected for. Also, they don’t want me to enter a relationship in such an early age because they don’t want me to end up like them, who got married at the age of 19 and 18.

            My parents know the negative things on how their parents raised them and on how they were regarded in society during their time, which is why they are changing that system now with how they are raising me and my older sister. They are still strict, but are more open than how their parents were to them before. Moreover, as I’ve already mentioned above about how my mother’s Lola only thought of women’s role as not so significant as men, and only let her study in a school near their home in Cavite, believing that sending her to a good school in Manila would be a waste. This is what my parents disagree on. My parents are sending me to a prestigious university, wanting me to become someone “big” and “well-respected” in the society we live in today. I could say that parents now know the difference in our generation, and how our society is different nowadays. As a result, parents today are already adapting and are trying to change the old style of raising children to make it more appropriate to how our generation is today.

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About iyavillanuevaa

3rd year/AB- ISE GENDERS A55 under Dr. Peracullo
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One Response to Gender Diversity and Equality

  1. Excellent reflection Iya and thank you for being honest with your feelings through this. You get 4.0 for this entry.

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