05/15/2015

Smart girls at the party

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We’d like to think that the best kind of clubs are the ones where everyone’s invited. Young STAR throws a little shindig with a couple of local girl clubs to talk feminism, thigh gaps, and turning one’s Instagram into Beyoncé.

 

Just as the late great Beatles sang, we all get by with the help from our friends. With the labels and impossible standards being thrown around by society and the media, life can be hard and complicated. Sometimes, the best way to deal with it is to gather our troops and battle it out using creativity and kickass Instagram accounts.

This week at Young STAR, we scoured the Internet for girl clubs that promote women empowerment through workshops, both online and offline. No, we’re not talking about constructing evil plans to destroy men and drive them from the earth. If anything, these clubs promote equality between genders and empowerment within one’s self.

While these clubs have already worked on a few projects and events in the past, this is the first time they have gathered to just sit down and talk. These women asked each other questions that have been on their minds for the longest time and we asked them for their opinions on certain topics as well.

Forget what teenage high school movies taught you; the queen bees aren’t always bad and in the vast Internet space, there isn’t just one. In the eyes of these girls, everybody’s a Beyoncé, a Tavi Gevinson, and a Rosie Ritter all rolled into one awesome feminist burrito.

Young STAR: Tell us what you think about the following phrases. Let’s start with, “Pink is the color for girls.”

Marika: I love pink!

Bianca: Every color is the color for girls.

Isa: Every color you want is your color.

What about the manic pixie dream girl?

Isa: She sets this weird expectation in everybody’s minds in terms of what an interesting girl is. It’s a ridiculous standard because you don’t have to be that way to be interesting, attractive or desirable.

Bianca: The thing with her is that she’s only a role in an ordinary guy’s life. It’s always the girl who’s like, “I’m going to change your life.” Don’t be just a role in some dude’s life.

And thigh gaps?

Isa: I think the issue of the thigh gap is crazy. It puts women in this position to think that this is what beauty is. Again, it’s elevating the idea that thin is the only way to be beautiful.

Marika: I don’t get why it’s an issue. So what if I don’t have a thigh gap?

Bianca: That’s such a weird thing to notice. It’s like “I have a space between my legs and it’s really hot.” (Laughs)

Do school dress codes make sense?

Bianca: It makes sense in professional settings or schools. There’s a certain environment to uphold. But if it’s arbitrary like “no spaghetti straps because your shoulders are distracting,” that’s just ridiculous.

Isa: Boundaries are important. Rules like that make sense to some degree. But when schools are particular about it like Bianca said, it’s limiting for a person.

Marika: What you wear shouldn’t define what you do. In schools, it’s there to teach people how to dress up freely but decently. Freedom is always correlated with responsibility. Parang yun lang naman yun.

Is chivalry dead?

Isa: On the front of chivalry being dead, it’s always associated with men. When you say that, it’s like you’re saying that there are no more good men. I think that that’s not true.

Sofia: Even if it’s dead, it’s not so much about chivalry but it’s about being a good person and treating each other well.

Fill in the blank: Feminism is not _____.

Isa: A competition and it’s not divisive.

Sofia: Cynicism or skepticism. It’s not about asserting supremacy over men.

Bianca: Feminism is not just about yourself, but making things better for girls and women everywhere.

Marika: Destructive and degrading of one’s self and of others, both men and women.

 

Sofia Cope, 24, Founder of QueenCult

Interview by Bianca Sarte

What is Queen Cult?

It’s an Instagram account that’s all about fist-bumping slogans that empower women. It’s like the Beyoncé of Instagram.

What is empowerment to you?

Empowerment is more about women finding their strength than asserting their supremacy over men. I can’t say it better than Mao Ze Dong: “Women light up half the sky.” Women are an important fraction in what keeps this world 100-percent.

What does Queen Cult have to say in terms of embracing one’s sexuality as a woman?

We have to be comfortable with the skin we’re in. It’s also important to explore your femininity. I get criticized by my friends and colleagues because I’m not brusko or boyish. Today, you get street cred for that. Kind of like the “cool girl” idea from Gone Girl. I’m raising the flag of femininity in Queen Cult.

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Join the community and follow QueenCult on Instagram: @queencult.

Marika Callangan, 24, Founder of Woman, Create

Interview by Sofia Cope

What is Woman, Create?

Woman, Create is a movement that aims to empower women through art, design and fun discourse. We talk about issues like body image and sexuality that young women don’t always talk about.

How would you say a girl who creates is empowered?

Sometimes, a woman can have a war within herself that asks, “Can I do it?” When she finally conquers that voice inside her head that says that she can and creates something out of it, that’s her personal form of empowerment.

Do you think boys should be feminists too?

People have been asking me if boys are allowed to go to our workshops. I always say, “Real men support great women.” (Laughs) I do believe that guys can support feminism too. Not just because women can be stronger than they are. But more of they admire the confidence and beauty of women.

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Like Woman, Create on Facebook to get updates on their workshops and events. http://facebook.com/womancreate.

Isa Garcia, 26, Co-Founder of The Better Story Project

Interview by Marika Callangan

What is Better Story Project?

The Better Story Project is a movement that’s geared towards empowerment for women through community. What we hope to create is a safe space for women to come together to connect and participate in the important conversations.

What do you think of the issue about people criticizing Selena Gomez for being fat?

I think it’s ridiculous. One thing that women empowerment strives to do is to send the message to women that every woman is beautiful. I think skinny is beautiful. And I also think that fat is beautiful and muscular is beautiful and dark is beautiful. Every woman is beautiful and she should believe it.

Why the “better” story project? Why not the “best” story?

We didn’t want to call it the “best” story because that’s superlative. And who’s to say what the best story is? I think everybody, even if they’re in a good situation, can always make their story better. And sometimes the best way to do that is to find your tribe that can uplift and support you.

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Check out The Better Story Project’s Facebook for updates on upcoming workshops and events. http://facebook.com/TheBetterStoryProject.

Bianca Sarte, 20, Intern at DesignHerStory

Interview by Isa Garcia

What is DesignHerStory?

DesignHerStory is a community of girls who aim to empower each other through creativity and passion. It’s a community where they find their “why.”

What should every empowered girl design?

Every empowered woman should design a story of her own. In mainstream media or online media, there’s a lot of pressure to be the best or meet a standard. If you keep going for the best, you’re always going to leave the good behind. But to get to the best, you have to get good, and then you have to get better. If you keep going for what you think these people want you to be, you end up losing who your are or why you’re doing what you’re doing.

If you can give Regina George a piece of advice, what would it be?

Open yourself up more, make friends and don’t be afraid of new things. You can’t keep living your life through “on Wednesdays we wear pink,” “we don’t wear jeans” and “we don’t wear ponytails.” You have to open yourself up to discovering other people and what they have to say.

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Join the DesignHerStory Facebook group http://facebook.com/DesignHerStory.

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