Friday, June 17, 2011

Rizal, the Real Macho

Rizal, especially in his time, was a rarity.

But let's skip the fact that he knew 22 languages; that he was a doctor, a scientist, a poet, an athlete, or in short, a versatile genius; and that he was a hero for crying out loud! He must've been a charming suitor, an adventurous date, and an ardent lover to his many girlfriends but to me, what sets him apart (and above the typical alpha males) is his passion for wise, strong-willed and confident women--perhaps, considered today as the cosmopolitan chic.

In his Letter to the Women of Malolos, he cited the immeasurable role of the Spartan women in ensuring that "no enemy was able to put his foot upon her soil." He described the characteristics of the Spartans for the Filipino women to emulate them.

It is hard to imagine how a man from history, born 150 years ago in colonial Philippines, could have such thoughts and words of encouragement for our great-great grandmothers. Indeed, Rizal is more than a Renaissance Man; he is a feminist and a true alpha male. For really, what kind of man would claim that women have the power over men but one who is self-assured and confident of his masculinity.

Now, doesn't that make Rizal a real macho?

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This blog is aligned with Rizal's view of empowering women through information and education:

"Important indeed are the duties that women must fulfill in order to relieve the country of her sufferings, but they are not beyond the strength and character of the Filipino woman to perform. Everybody knows the power and the prudence of the women of the Philippines. Hence they blind them, chain them, weaken their spirit, so sure are they that so long as the mother is a slave, all her children can be enslaved also. This is the reason of the enslavement of Asia: the women of in Asia are ignorant and oppressed."

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Learning from Rizal in his letter To the Young Women of Malolos:

First of all. That the tyranny of some is possible only through cowardice and negligence on the part of others.

Second. What makes one contemptible is lack of dignity and abject fear of him who holds one in contempt.

Third. Ignorance is servitude, because as a man thinks, so he is; a man who does not think for himself and allowed himself to be guided by the thought of another is like the beast led by a halter. -- Given this, I can already guess what his stand on the RH Bill would be if he's alive today.

Fourth. He who loves his independence must first aid his fellowman, because he who refuses protection to others will find himself without it; the isolated rib in the buri is easily broken, but not so the broom made of the ribs of the palm bound together.

Fifth. If the Filipina will not change her mode of being, let her rear no more children, let her merely give birth to them. She must cease to be the mistress of the home, otherwise she will unconsciously betray husband, child, native land, and all.

Sixth. All men are born equal, naked, without bonds. God did not create man to be a slave; nor did he endow him with intelligence to have him hoodwinked, or adorn him with reason to have him deceived by others. It is not fatuous to refuse to worship one's equal, to cultivate one's intellect, and to make use of reason in all things. Fatuous is he who makes a god of him, who makes brutes of others, and who strives to submit to his whims all that is reasonable and just.

Seventh. Consider well what kind of religion they are teaching you. See whether it is the will of God or according to the teachings of Christ that the poor be succored and those who suffer alleviated. Consider what they preaching to you, the object of the sermon, what is behind the masses, novenas, rosaries, scapularies, images, miracles, candles, belts, etc. etc; which they daily keep before your minds; ears and eyes; jostling, shouting, and coaxing; investigate whence they came and whiter they go and then compare that religion with the pure religion of Christ and see whether the pretended observance of the life of Christ does not remind you of the fat milch cow or the fattened pig, which is encouraged to grow fat nor through love of the animal, but for grossly mercenary motives.

Eighth (and the most beautiful). If she is a maiden, the young man should love her not only because of her beauty and her amiable character, but also on account of her fortitude of mind and loftiness of purpose, which quicken and elevate the feeble and timid and ward off all vain thoughts.

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Let us not forget that the Women of Malolos broke the norms back in the late 1800s when they bravely fought for their right to education. After a failed first attempt, they continued their petition until the government compromised by allowing them to attend night schooling under a preferred teacher.

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