These strong, independent women got together to talk about catcalling

Catcalling is a reality that women have to deal with on a daily basis. Despite the women being the victims in this case, society has always turned to the age-old solution of making them adjust. It’s always the women who have to dress and act modestly so as not to encourage unwanted attention.

These are discussion points that were brought up at the first San Mig Light Mahaba-habang Kwentuhan session — yup, we did a double take too at first. The beer brand isn’t technically known for championing women’s rights (see: that sexist “signs that she’s into you” campaign from last year).

In a move that hopes to turn the tides, San Mig Light gathered a crew of strong women, including filmmaker Sam Lee, designer Mich Dulce, tattoo artist Wiji Lacsamana, activist Noelle Capili, student Adriana Griner, and trans rights advocate Naomi Fontanos for the first of a series of live roundtable discussions on women’s issues, streamed on Facebook Live.

Last Sunday’s usapan covered some of the basics, including what constitutes catcalling and harassment — nothing new to those familiar with feminism (honestly, I learned most of this from online feminist resources and events like Grrrl Meets). The kicker here is the platform that the discussion was carried out on. We have to remember that San Mig Light’s influence is undeniable, given the brand’s status as everyone’s go-to for inumans and parties.

For the uninitiated, here is the general consensus to come out of the conversation: it all really boils down to consent. There’s a line that has to be drawn between personal and public space.

For the uninitiated, here is the general consensus to come out of the conversation: it all really boils down to consent. There’s a line that has to be drawn between personal and public space. Catcalling is bad because it makes the person it is directed to feel unsafe because of the lack of control of a situation. If a woman (or anyone, really) doesn’t feel or seem comfortable with the attention, then don’t push it.

In short, it’s all about the delivery.  If you absolutely have to tell someone that you think she (or he) is pretty, do it politely. To break it down even further: “Hoy, miss! Ganda mo!” *wolf whistle* = unwelcome catcall.

At one point during the discussion, I logged on to their stream, expecting to be met with a barrage of troll comments. There were none. Save for one woman who didn’t seem to understand the conversation, all the other comments were messages of support and solidarity.

That’s when it hit me that this could actually make an impact as long as it reaches people who aren’t as familiar with feminism. The ladies at the mahaba-habang usapan spoke of progress. And if we continue the conversation, there’s truly hope for us yet.

To learn more about catcalling (including the bigger picture of women being sexualized, plus the little steps we as individuals can take to break systemic oppression), check out the full San Mig Light Mahaba-habang Usapan below.

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#events #gender

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