Quotes That Empowered Me As A Filipina

I grew up in the Philippines in the ’80s-90s, in a patriarchal society that expected women to adhere to traditional gender roles. My growth as a feminist was slow but progressive. It took me decades to hone my strengths and find my voice. As a feminist in progress, I’d like to share some of the quotes that have empowered me as a Filipina. Which one resonates with you the most?

“It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for.”
—Amy Poehler
“Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.”
—Ruth Bader Ginsburg
“I don’t care that much about wrinkles and gray hair, I’m more worried about keeping my worldview flexible enough that when I’m older I don’t condescendingly tell young people to play by the rules that worked in my day, with no concern for whether or not those rules still apply.”
—Lilly Dancyger
“Be alone. Eat alone, take yourself on dates, sleep alone. In the midst of this you will learn about yourself. You will grow, you will figure out what inspires you, you will curate your own dreams, your own beliefs, your own stunning clarity, and when you do meet the person who makes your cells dance, you will be sure of it, because you are sure of yourself.”
―Bianca Sparacino, “Seeds Planted in Concrete”
“I was asked recently, ‘Who is your best friend?’ I don’t know. I don’t use language like that anymore. It doesn’t fit. I have friends that hold the keys to different doors of my personality. Some open my heart. Some my laughter. Some my mischief. Some my sin. Some my civic urgency. Some my history. Some my rawest confusion and vulnerability. Some friends, who may not be ‘the closest’ to me, have the most important key for me in a moment of my life. Some, who may be as close as my own skin, may not have what I need today. It’s okay if our spouses or partners don’t have every key. How could they? It isn’t a failure if they don’t open every single door of who you are. The million-room-mansion of identity cannot overlap perfectly with anyone. But I will say, my closest friends have a key ring on their hip with lots of keys, jingling.”
―Jedidiah Jenkins, “Like Streams to the Ocean: Notes on Ego, Love, and the Things That Make Us Who We Are”

“You have to keep breaking your heart until it opens.”
“Follow the flawed, the real, the messy. Follow the women who say it like it is, no filter, no glossing, no bull. Follow those people who accept themselves, and you, as you are. And leave the rest to edit their lives to perfection.”
―Donna Ashworth, “I Wish I Knew: Poems to Soothe Your Soul & Strengthen Your Spirit”
“Is she being rude, or have you been socially conditioned into believing that women should be warm, positive and friendly at all times and are uncomfortable when they don’t adhere to that behaviour?”
—Aaron Hoyland
“A slut is someone, usually a woman, who’s stepped outside of the very narrow lane that good girls are supposed to stay within. Sluts are loud. We’re messy. We don’t behave. In fact, the original definition of “slut” meant “untidy woman.” But since we live in a world that relies on women to be tidy in all ways, to be quiet and obedient and agreeable and available (but never aggressive), those of us who color outside of the lines get called sluts. And that word is meant to keep us in line.”
―Jaclyn Friedman
“If you don’t like feminism as a woman, you may relinquish all the rights you have that were given to you thanks to feminism! So that’s your job, your own bank account, your car, your right to vote.”
Inka Magnaye

One of the biggest misconceptions of feminism is that we want to eliminate men from society. That’s not feminism, that’s misandry. Our core goal is the economic, social, and political equality between genders—ALL genders.

As we wrap up Women’s Month 2024, I am grateful to the strong and empowered women from decades past, those who fought hard for our right to vote, own a credit card, open a bank account, own property, run a business, drive a car, and many other basic rights that you may not have realized women didn’t have before the rise of feminism.

Here’s to strong Filipinas: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

*Featured photo from ©inspirestock, 123RF Free Images