In observance of the International Women’s Day, celebrated every 8th of March, we interviewed a group of students and asked them about their take on the issue on equal opportunities for men and women.
They call it feminism – the idea that women should be afforded the same opportunities, the same respect as men – political, economic, personal, social. In the current landscape, the campaign especially targets equal pay for both men and women. What are your thoughts on that?
Rosa (extreme left): “It’s comforting to know that the campaign [on feminism] is very much alive. It should educate us on the changes that are happening in the society. It should bring us to the awareness that no section of the society should be singled out, that a certain group shouldn’t be given favor over another. It should remind us that we have left the period of the old civilization, that we’re done with the Dark Ages – that period in history where culture badly deteriorated. And it should make us conscious that feminism isn’t an issue for women only – it concerns everyone, because it affects us all.”
John Paul (second from right): “Feminism – it’s not man-hating; it’s not anti-men. It’s acknowledging the fact that all of us deserve to be treated equally. That’s just it – people having the same chances, having equal shot at things.”
One of the discussions on feminism is the objectification of women. Others call it body shaming. What are your thoughts on that?
Rosa: “When you objectify women, you put them in a frame, you define them. You tell them to be someone they are not. You don’t let them be the complete version of themselves. It’s when people go, ‘She needs to have curves.’ Or, ‘She needs to be size 2.’ Or, ‘She needs to get rid of that thigh gap.’ Objectification is the new brand of savagery.”
Daphne (extreme right): “It’s like saying – actually, it’s saying – ‘Why isn’t she perfect? She can’t be flawed.’ It’s so cruel that the word ‘cruel’ can’t even capture the level of cruelty of it.”
Jelian (second from left): “The objectification of women – it’s a trap that everyone of us falls into, wherever we are – in the workplace, at home, politics, worse if you’re on TV or on the runway. It’s there, and it’s just tragic that it exists. I wonder if there ever comes a day when we don’t have to discriminate, when we can go beyond the physical in dealing with things.”
“There was this show that I watched on TV – it’s a model search. One of the contestants had a huge scar. You know what they did? During the photoshoot, they highlighted the scar and the photograph came out super-amazing. It’s a use-your-flaw-to-magnify-your-strength kind of thing, and it’s inspiring. Maybe we can take some inspiration from that.”
Daphne: “Yeah, love yourself; do not compare, it's not healthy, and it's not proper. Your worth isn’t defined by how you look.”
John Paul: “I think the word is respect. Skinny or curvy, black or white, blonde or brunette – it doesn’t matter, and it really shouldn’t matter. Humanity is already crashing down – let’s not accelerate the collapse and deepen the impact.”
Photo by DONALD RENTIQUIANO
Interview & Text by RONA LIN