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Filipinas are Hair-Flipping Their Way to Running the World

Happy International Women's Day.
by Ara Eugenio
Mar 6, 2021
Photo/s: Jico Joson

One mansplainer at a time. One sexist joker at a time. One criminal at a time. Filipinas are one with the women of the planet in fighting for gender equality. No matter if it's been a centuries-long fight or if it would take hundreds of years more.

At Reportr.World, our coverage of human survival during the pandemic is tied to the triumphs and trials of women who persevere despite the added burden of the pandemic.

We honor the Filipina on International Women's Day with this collection of stories that celebrate how they run the world.

Women shut mansplainers with hair flips.

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It has been quite a year for men in power and their penchant for talking down on women, explaining to them things as if they knew any better and telling them what to do. It's a man's world, they always say, but that doesn't mean it should be. 

Academics call the particular behavior 'mansplaining', a portmanteau of two common words, 'mix' and 'explain'. During the pandemic, the term made headlines twice: one time when an army general on a red-tagging spree tried it on actress Liza Soberano, and the other was when Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque refused to pipe down against broadcaster Pink Webb (who just shrugged him off with a hairflip and was annointed queen of the internet). In both stories, we let women explain. 

... And red-taggers with lipstick

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Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade, the army general accused of mansplaining Liza Soberano has a bigger crusade: decimating communist rebels. In his mission, he has red-tagged activists, that are really just women calling out injustice when they see it. One of them was TV's Darna, Angel Locsin, who always knows how to pick weapons well. And for this particular fight, she painted her lips red. 

Lipsticks sell despite crisis, and the actress and philantropist went with the particular shade to launch the #NoToRedTagging #YesToRedLipstick campaign that easily took over social media. In this explainer, reportr decoded why red lipstick has always been power for the broader women's movement.

Sexist jokes kept trying to be funny, but women refused to laugh.

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Filipinos humor themselves out of difficult situations, in particular, even those as difficult as battling monster storms in the middle of a health crisis. The country saw one attempt last year, on live TV, during a relief coverage by government officials (mostly men) but it wasn't taken very well. 

Jokes break the ice but no punchline elicits the strongest reactions as one that tackles women and sex. Why do people, especially men, still do it? Read story here.


Jico Joson
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Barely finishing the up to 10-year sentence he was supposed to serve, U.S. Marine Joseph Scott Pemberton is back home after serving only five years in jail for killing Filipina transgender Jennifer Laude on Oct. 11, 2014. 

While much can already be said about the justice system in this country, there are also other aspects to the case that the public needed to confront outside foreign affairs: what role did LGBT acceptance (or lack thereof) play in how justice was miscarried?

Jennifer Laude was a woman, it's a fact that needed to be acknowledged foremostsaid this reportr explainer. In another story, we also looked at the fight for anti-discrimination on the basis of gender and sex

Are women fit to become president? Or does gender even matter at all? 

When President Rodrigo Duterte said his daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, was unfit to become his successor because of her gender, it brought to mind this question: are women unqualified to lead a country because of their "emotional setup"?

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Analysts said it's definitely not the case. Reigning Miss Universe Philippines Rabiya Mateo also weighed in, saying women can very much lead nations.

But here's one solid proof: in the COVID-19 pandemic, women leaders are outperforming men.

What does 'breaking glass ceilings' really mean?

Kamala Harris punched through the world's highest glass ceiling late last year, securing three firsts: first woman, first black, and first South Asian to be elected Vice President of the U.S. In her victory speech, she said: "While I may be the first, I won’t be the last."

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The Philippines on the other hand, has had two female presidents, two female vice president and a best female president it never had (Miriam Defensor-Santiago), according to a new beauty queen. It might seem that Malacanang's glass ceiling  has been shattered since 1986. Has it?

In this explainer, reportr spoke to sociologist Nicole Curato and political scientist Jean Encinas-Franco about what really happens when women do get elected, and have become 'first'. Read full story. 

We confront the problem of rape culture as exposed by the death of Christine Dacera.

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Social media was outraged over the death of 23-year-old flight attendant Christine Dacera after police claimed she was a victim of sexual violence in the hands of her own friends. Emergent evidence surrounding her death has since pointed authorities the other way, but regardless, her case exposed a culture of blaming women for being victims of rape and other forms of gender-based violence in the Philippines. Full story here. 

Teen pregnancies rose during quarantine. 

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Babies are booming during quarantine as Filipinos remain cooped at home. In one story, we looked at how they stand as a symbol of hope in the eyes of women who have long been preparing to become mothers. 

But many of them were birthed by young, underaged mothers -- teenage Filipinas -- who have become victims of circumstances brought by the pandemic, as schools faced closures. A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that six out of 10 Filipinos think teenage pregnancy is the "most important problem" of women.

We zeroed in on some of their stories here, looking at their experience of what is usually an otherwise special time for women who are of age. But in another story, we also explained how regardless of whether or not a woman is old enough, she still gets penalized for getting pregnant. But what about men? 

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