Maria Clara is the mestiza heroine in Noli Me Tangere (translated: touch-me-not), a novel written by the Philippine national hero, Jose Rizal in 1887 during the colonization of the country by Spain to expose the inequities of the Spanish Catholic priests and the ruling government. (Source: Wiki)
Maria Clara’s name and character has since become a byword in Filipino culture for the traditional, feminine ideal.
In a world where women are expected to behave in a certain way to please men—believe me when I say that it is not easy. From education to suffrage to marriage, history proved that women were oppressed. To this day, more people than ever are standing up for women’s rights. Although we’re not there yet, it is safe to say that we’re making progress, and I certainly hope this continues.
I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard… we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.
― Malala Yousafzai
The best thing you can do to help with this progress, my dear reader, is to educate your pals. Misogyny or prejudice against women is very common up to this day. It is the assumption that all women are weak, fragile and sensitive that oppresses them. Tell your pals they’re wrong, tell them that some women are weak and some are strong, but some men are, too, right? Ask them to think about what they just said, and ask them to tell their mothers the same.
When your pals objectify women, educate them. When they joke about sexual abuse, educate them. Talk to them. They’re your friends and they will listen to you, and if you convince them, they’ll do the same with their friends. And the string goes on and on and on until it finally connects us all.
For myself, it doesn’t stop there. I recently got invited to be an ambassador of a non-profit organization called Lit Without Limits. The organization donates empowering literature to young girls in mentoring groups, to inspire them to find value in themselves, their education, and their purpose in the world.
I didn’t have to think twice, reading and female empowerment are two of my greatest interests. Lit Without Limits strive to empower girls through strong female protagonists and vital messages about their innate power to stimulate a passion and working vision for their educational and personal pursuits.
Lit Without Limits is not just about donating books, it’s about making connections and bonding over books! We are launching a book club on Goodreads! It will be so amazing to have you with us, join us in reading WILD by Cheryl Strayed which I’m absolutely enjoying thus far!
Make sure to check out the following links below: