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These Empowering Ladies Should Always Be on Your Radar

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IMAGE Malala Yousafzai | facebook.com/MalalaFund, Michelle Obama | facebook.com/michelleobama

In light of recent events, such as Trump's constant put-downs of women, Senator Sotto's na-ano comment, and the sexual abuse and misogyny that still continue in today's world—whether it's being catcalled on the street or being reprimanded for wearing "distracting" clothing—here are five feminists you need to take inspiration from when it comes to staying strong. #GirlPower

  1. Emma Watson

The actress has been known for playing strong female characters, like Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Belle from Beauty and the Beast. True to form, Emma is more than just a pretty face, being an active feminist herself. As a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, she's behind the #HeForShe movement, which calls for not just women, but men to stand up for gender equality. Emma has also promoted education for young girls by visiting countries like Bangladesh and Zambia, and even giving a speech on women's political participation in Uruguay. No wonder most of us consider her our idol! 

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  1. Serena Williams

Hailed as a feminist icon in the field of sports, the tennis champion has time and time again fought for equal wage. Serena has raised awareness on the disparity in pay between female athletes like her and their male counterparts, showing that men's teams that have lost still earn more than women's teams that have won. Furthermore, she refuses being branded as "one of the greatest female athletes of all time," preferring instead to be remembered as "one of the greatest athletes of all time," period. You go, girl!

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  1. Malala Yousafzai

At just 19, this Pakistani girl is already the youngest Nobel Peace-prize laureate in history. #GOALS Although her advocacies for women's rights have caused death threats and even a shooting incident that required her to undergo surgery, Malala isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She's protested against the Taliban who have shut down girls' schools by starting the Malala Education Foundation for girls who can't afford education. In interviews, she's revealed her plans to enter politics when she's older, and ultimately use her influence for good.

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  1. Constance Wu

The Fresh Off the Boat-actress and soon-to-be Crazy Rich Asians star has been outspoken when it comes to issues like racism and sexism. She's advocated for Asian actors, particularly female ones, what with the lack of diversity and constant whitewashing in Hollywood. A self-proclaimed feminist, Constance has also actively promoted and gone to several Planned Parenthood events, as well as the Women's March in Washington, describing it as her protest against Trump's patriarchal standards in present-day America. With the Philippines being an Asian country whose actors usually only make it to Hollywood as some cliché trope, we definitely have Constance Wu to thank for more doors opening.

  1. Michelle Obama

When her husband Barack Obama was still president, Michelle Obama was known for hosting White House receptions for women's rights advocates, most notably the one held to celebrate the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 Pay equity law. Her other endeavors include advocating on behalf of military families, helping career women balance work and family, as well as raising awareness on the importance of educating young girls—not just in the classroom, but with ample knowledge of their rights and power even at a young age.

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In addition, the tech-savvy former First Lady uses social media to support and bring attention to several causes—for example, when she joined the campaign to bring back the schoolgirls who had been kidnapped by the Boko Haram group in Nigeria by tweeting a photo of herself holding a poster with the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag. With all that, it's safe to say that Michelle Obama is a symbol of women empowerment in her own right.

Who is your feminist inspiration? Let us know in the comments down below!

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Caitlin Anne Young
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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted?

I have forgotten when was the last time we shared a smile - the last time when I saw the glow in your eyes and the last time when you whispered an I love you to me. I have forgotten when, but here I am - writing to you again.

I do not know if you will read this or you will just add this one to my proses and poems that you left unread, but you see, I am still hoping. I am mailing the pain of us to the gods out there - hoping they can take the pain away. I should have gotten over you, but instead of forgetting and accepting our ending, I am writing about us in tissue sheets, carving about us on trees, telling about us on the back of my journals, hoping that a thousand or a million write ups about us, can make me forget about what happened.

I am writing, waiting for the point where I can no longer write anymore, for I have none to tell - but when? I have nothing in me anymore, but the memories of us - and no matter how hard I try put those to its own grave, the memories grow back like lilies in the swamp - painful and beautiful at the same time.

No matter how hard I try to silence those and put it at the back of my mind, those ring back, playing like the favorite song we used to listen. They say heartbreaks turn into poetry and that is what happening to us - but poetry should be dulcet and dreamy, why does ours sound like pain and agony? They say time heals all wounds, but it has been ages - is heartbreak exempted? Darling, I guess not.

Anne Luna A day ago
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