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The world as our generation knows it is now split between the "before", the "during" and the "after" of the Coronavirus pandemic. As we enter what we hope to be the last stretch of this journey towards "after", we must embody the necessary changes we need to make for the betterment of society. In this issue of The Feed, we unpack the ideas we need to contemplate, cultivate, and ultimately believe in to masterfully cross over to the new world—and survive.

/ 15 March 2021

Now that we’re beyond the one-year mark of the longest-running lockdown in the world, there’s a visible separation between our lives pre-COVID, during COVID, and the much-sought after post-pandemic world.

Within the course of our lockdown, one good thing that has occurred is society’s growing ability to identify problematic practices, ideologies, and lifestyles that we must amend, or completely eradicate, before we can truly make our way forward. A few examples of such are apathy, misogyny, mediocrity, bigotry, and so many more subtle and not-so-subtle attributes deeply entrenched in our culture that have ultimately impeded our progress towards real change.

These harmful practices are the concepts covering the machinery of our society that have eventually turned into rust so thick from inactivity and tolerance, it’s impossible to make even one step towards transformation.

What we are truly in so dire need of, are fresh creative ideas on how we can better maneuver the future with technology, and how we can replace these outdated machinery and ideologies with blindingly shiny new principles. Because, as we’ve seen from experiencing this nightmare for a whole year, our old ways just won’t cut it.

We need better urban planning, architectural design, more efficient processing in government offices, faster Internet connection, truly public-friendly public transportation, more humane policies and laws, braver journalism, inclusive design for people with disabilities, humanitarian campaigns for the homeless and the impoverished, good (and better) governance, and a generally more respectful and accepting culture surrounding women, the LGBTQ+ community, and so many more marginalized groups in the Philippines.

These things can only be achieved by committing ourselves to change, founded on transformative ideas that are capable of revolutionizing the way we live our lives. Moreover, as a country with over seven thousand islands, this can also only be possible if we get past our surface-level differences with one another, and truly collaborate to move forward as one nation.

To emphasize this claim, The Feed features a young artist who has inspired us by showcasing the beauty of our country’s rich and vast culture across our many islands through art. John Ken Gomez, a 21-year old Fine Arts student from Far Eastern University, crafted the “Perlas ng Silanganan”, a Filipino-inspired re-imagination of Sandro Botticelli’s famed “Birth of Venus.”

I incorporated elements that resemble the rich culture of our country. First, is the Ifugao cloth that is from LUZON. Second, are the tattoos and symbols that are inspired from [the] Pintados, which are the tattooed indigenous people of VISAYAS. Last, is the head piece that is called “Sewat” from the ethnic group T’boli of Mindanao.”

The artwork itself is a beautiful fusion of the most iconic characteristics that make up our shared identity as a people, represented through the Filipino woman. In fact, the integration of all these elements to a woman is also a very relevant and crucial detail to consider for our transformation to truly take place.

For starters, in light of International Women’s Month this March, a serious issue that needs to be addressed is the seemingly normal misogyny deeply embedded and perpetuated in our culture. Although there’s definitely a lot more outspoken and strong Filipino women to look up to these days, the truth remains that they, and so many young girls and mature women, still face harassment, ridicule, and prejudice simply because of who they are.

This perpetuation also lies in the constant threat towards women in power, and the mockery and abuse they face while working alongside men who look down on them, and other women who would bring them down to get back up. Misogyny can also be seen in the way the media has long since portrayed women as less, petty, and incapable of leadership. With even instances of reducing an empowered woman’s impact to the clothes she chooses to wear, the amount of make-up on her face, or whoever she’s dating.

As citizens and mere spectators to the politics surrounding women empowerment, a good first step to change is to evaluate how we act towards women in power. Do we ridicule, minimize, and silence them as well—even just on social media or candid gossip sessions with friends?

We believe we’d make more progress towards changing this practice if we look at it head on, and actively participate in unlearning these behaviors. Behaviors that we also see from our elected leaders and representatives who constantly make sexist comments, rape jokes, and overly sexualized observations. As long as we allow these voices to have a platform, misogyny in our country might never be fully erased.

In truth, there are so many aspects in our culture and day-to-day lives that are in so desperate need of change, amendment, or full stop erasures. Not only in how we treat women, and indigenous folks, but also in how we educate children, empower those drowning in poverty, create safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, and ultimately how we all treat one another as human beings.

Between all the lines and underneath all these overly-complicated issues, the one main thing we need right now is an abundance of creative ideas designed to transform the way we think, and reshape the way we behave as a people. Then, and perhaps only then, can we make our way through this ever-changing world, and enjoy the possibility of us making it out alive.