<![CDATA[REINVENT - YOUR TURN!]]>Fri, 27 Nov 2015 11:22:42 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[恋の予感 (KOI NO YOKAN)]]>Mon, 26 Oct 2015 13:21:16 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/-koi-no-yokan “we’ll see each other someday” is the map of my journey
a 15-year-old dream that my heart has been chasing
finally coming true in a week-long love story
 
the deafening nights of silence filled with utmost longing
are gone, replaced with heartbreaking excitement
that lonely hour I wave goodbye and whisper
“we’ll finally see each other, my koi no koyan
 
you welcome me with your warm sunlight
I am engulf by the sincere embracing sounds
I breathe in the sweet sounds of thank yous
 
little India, little Italy, little mermaid made their appearances
walking through the vibrant street corners
the staggering little cat statues fascinate me
armed with a camera, a direction, a love
 
my tiny feet are entwined with the white lights
making my way through the four lanes
everyone is synchronized, surrounded by their presence
in the middle of this crossing, you made realize me
how small I am yet I can feel every fibre in my body
hearing the sounds of the cars, the footsteps of the people
I am nothing but alive in this moment
 
stretching my fingers to the sky, as far as they can reach
ashes coming out of the mountains
you take my breathe away
the water is as clear as the reflection I paint of my smile
my non-stop laughter is from your gentle touch
I am climbing the stairway of your vertebrate
 
my breath is ragged, my body is swimming
the food is being tickled in my mouth
fresh takoyaki never taste this good
through the vibrant lights, the towering figures
the unreadable text on books
I spot the red tower, mighty and free
 
as I wave my goodbye
the natsukashi feelings are overflowing
I let my kiss fly, soar to spread its wings
and I whisper, “we’ll see each other again Tokyo”
truly, my koi no yokan has become a real story

​- Jianne Soriano]]>
<![CDATA[My First Love]]>Wed, 07 Oct 2015 11:36:16 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/my-first-love     When was your first love? Who was she or he? Perhaps, thinking about her or him brings back so much memories that you’re possibly smiling (hopefully, not crying) right now just by remembering the bitter and sweet thing called first love. We’ve probably all have our first loves, if not, you will get there.

     For many, it’s a person. It happened during their later years of elementary or their early years of high school. But for mine, it happened exactly fifteen years ago. I was five years old. And I fell in love, my first love in fact, was (or still is) anime.

      I remember the moments so clearly when I was growing up in the Philippines. Watching Sailor Moon in tagalog dub every morning, that was also the time when I told my grandma that I wanted to meet the Sailor squad but she right-out rejected me and said they’re only in Japan. That began my promise of “One day, I’m going to go there!”, a fifteen-year-old dream to set foot in the land of the rising sun that  finally came true last May.
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With Kaori Miyazono cosplayer during the ONLY anime convention held in Hong Kong 2015
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I couldn’t control my happiness when I went to this anime/manga store in Shibuya
     Everyday, after school, I would run back home to catch the anime that were already showing. That was my childhood. Fushigi Yuugi, Cardcaptor Sakura, Slam Dunk, Dragon Ball Z and especially Flame of Recca. Recca Hanabishi was my first boyfriend. I was five, I probably didn’t know it was love but I knew that I was happy and I was in my own world whenever I watch them.

     There was a famous store across where I lived and I would beg my grandmother to buy me the Sailor Moon candy lipstick and I’d cut the packaging out because there were pictures of them there. Those became my make-shift Sailor dolls. I remember my older cousin cosplaying Sakura Kinomoto with a makeshift wand and a makeshift dress. My first “One True Pairing” (OTP) blossomed when Sasuke left Konoha and Sakura tried to stop him. “You’re annoying” became so much sweeter. And my aunt buying me Slam Dunk text cards and arguing with my brother on who gets to keep which.

     ​And then I went back to Hong Kong. I cried and cried and cried because I wasn’t able to watch Flame of Recca anymore. This was when the internet was just in its early stages and the only way to watch anime was through the TV. I got my first computer during early 2000s and all I did was use paint then. Lucky for me, the Hong Kong local channel showed one anime, Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne. But back then, I didn’t know the title nor did I understood what the language because it was all in Cantonese dub. Only when I learned how to use the computer did I discover the name. The phase of my anime scrap-booking started.

     I searched and searched pictures of my first love. A girl that loves fictional characters in a fictional universe, you know you could never be loved back. So I poured my heart out, printing pictures and making scrap-books about them. Placing a make-shift poster in the room that I shared with my brother, memorizing and remembering (to this day) the lyrics of Nanka Shiawase (What Happiness).
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All smiles in front of the entrance of the official Naruto Exhibition in Tokyo

    And then I grew up.


     Maybe the pain of not being noticed, not being loved back and not even being able to touch your first love took a toll on me and I sort-of gave up. I still watched it and I still had little glimmers of hope inside me. I wanted to grow up so I could be the same age as Ryoma Echizen from Prince of Tennis. I saved up my allowance so I could buy those shoes with wheels so I could learn how to ride them just like Ikki Itsuki from Air Gear. I still rewatched Cardcaptor Sakura over and over again. But as I grew up, I also started to realize the difference between reality and fantasy. I had my first love taken away because I had to grow up.


     So I went through some years of heartbreak. I tried to divert my attention to real people: celebrities. Although they are unattainable, at least they’re real. They have lives and they exist. I went through a Korean obsession phase, heightened with the popularity of Korean drama in the Philippines, the explosion of K-Pop in Hong Kong and the growing influence of the internet, watching it was so attainable.

     ​But it’s never the same. Even as I try to move on and try to forget, deep inside me, I know I couldn’t. And I didn’t.

     Team 7 grew up. Flame of Recca ended. And new waves of anime came in. One day, I just heard it. Nanka Shiawase playing on a small sushi restaurant somewhere in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong. And it just clicked. It felt like my first love was running back to me. Everything was in slow motion and I could feel the flutter in my heart, the redness of my cheeks and the memories came in a rush. Right then, I knew.


     Love is truly sweeter the second time around.

     After a three year hiatus, we’re now in a happy relationship. Stronger and more in love. We shared laughs together, kilig moments together and cried together. My love has grown because I started to approach it in a critical way, I now write reviews in my blog. I guess over the years, we have fallen and gotten back up together. I know it’s fantasy but that doesn’t mean I can’t put what I learned from it to real life.
 ​    Some say anime is just for kids, for grown up men, or is the same thing as cartoons. But for some, including myself, it’s so much more than that. It has become a vital part of not only my childhood but also who I am as a person. It shaped and strived me to fulfill my dream of setting foot in Japan, one I waited for so long and that finally came true. I cried with immense joy as I visited the official Naruto exhibition in Tokyo when they played the video of Naruto and Sasuke’s story. Classical music is beautiful. Sports knowledge comes from sports anime.

     ​Anime motivates me to self-learn Japanese even if my I already have a struggle with my mediocre Cantonese. It’s a pillow that I hug at night when I need to cry because of a bad day. And it’s something that makes me laugh and smile. Of course, it’s still sad that I can never marry a fictional concept. But this very fictional concept shaped my reality. I owe it a lot. Maybe it’s an obsession, some may call it that. But I call it my first love.


- Jianne Soriano
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<![CDATA[EMPTY SPACES]]>Mon, 31 Aug 2015 11:03:02 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/empty-spaces
"I've always had this belief that sometimes, we speak loudest in our silence; how the void of things could mean so much. This is my play on negative space, with only one subject in mind you have only one integral thing to look at, and to think about."


Photos and words by Mike Server
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<![CDATA[Reality Check]]>Wed, 20 May 2015 11:59:12 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/reality-check     Eight years ago, I graduated high school with a plan: I’d spend four amazing years in my first choice university, get my first real boyfriend, and then spend another four years in my first choice law school. I’d get a job someplace where my nationalism and angry feminism would actually be of use, and I’d move out of my parents’ house, preferably by the time I turned 30.

     Today I am in my quarter life. My years in university were spent wondering why I’d chosen my incredibly niche course, too scared to shift to the major I discovered far too late I wanted to pursue. There were boys—and A Boy—in college, but none of them were my boyfriends. I did spend some time in law school after I quit my first job teaching, but I was asked to leave at the end of the year when it was determined that I couldn’t keep up with the rigor. Just this month, I resigned from my second job—anxiety, finally diagnosed only because I finally mustered up an insane amount of courage to see a doctor.

     I tell you all of this not because I want any sort of sympathy but because if you’re a teenager and you’re on the cusp of adulthood, making all sorts of plans and expecting your life to work out exactly the way you want it to the first time, you need to remember one very important thing: shit happens, even to adults.

     Sometimes when we’re young, we tend to look at the older people in our lives and think that they’ve got everything figured out or that their lives, while not exactly perfect yet, soon will be. These days, the anxiety to achieve certain things by a certain age gets worse because it’s so easy to feel pressured by the need to live up to our friends’ Instagram feeds. Except social media is largely about curation—keeping all the good stuff in while keeping everything less than that out. I know a lot of people my age who have achieved exactly what they wanted, whether it’s in their careers or in their personal lives, and that’s fine. There are also people much younger than I am who are giving their own TEDx talks, being celebrated as persons of note in their respective industries, and that’s fine as well.

     But I also know a lot of people my age who feel as though they need to recalibrate every so often, either because what they think they wanted didn’t really work out, or because they discover that they’ve changed and that what they originally wanted is totally different from what they want now—and that’s fine too!

    We need to get rid of the idea that achievements like finding the right job and being in a relationship have due dates. It’s great if you’ve managed to reach your goals early, but it doesn’t make you any less of a person if you’re still looking for the next step. People’s interests, goals, and priorities can change over the years and what matters more than anything is being brave enough to keep grinding even when everything isn’t as perfect as you wish it could be.

      In the 1994 movie Reality Bites, fresh grad and valedictorian Leilana Pierce, fresh from being disappointed by both her job as a production assistant and her network executive boyfriend muses, “I was really going to be somebody by the time I was 23.” And in a moment that I hold close to my heart, her friend (and eventual love interest, but ssh!), guitarist Troy Dyer says, “Honey, all you have to be by the time you’re 23 is yourself.” And if you don’t know who that is yet, believe me when I say that you have time to figure that out. 

-Kaye Robles
*cover photo source]]>
<![CDATA[Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones But Misrepresenting Minorities in Media is a Cancer that Will Plague Generations To Come]]>Wed, 29 Apr 2015 11:56:25 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/sticks-and-stones-may-break-my-bones-but-misrepresenting-minorities-in-media-is-a-cancer-that-will-plague-generations-to-come     The past few months have been a field day for diversity. I don’t know what we did, or how, or if it’s just the blood rituals we’ve secretly been performing in our basements that are finally bearing fruit (I’m kidding), but suddenly good things have been finding their way into our unworthy laps, like a gift from God Himself.  We’ve seen disabled protags and people of color animated on the big screen, a Disney queen with mental illness in a film that doesn’t tunnel vision on heterosexuality, a kickass Muslim girl superhero with her own series, and racially diverse emoticons. If you told me five years ago that two female characters from a Nickelodeon cartoon show would end up canonically together, I probably would have laughed (thank you Korrasami gods). So, I don’t know about you, but all these portrayals of minority groups are pretty exciting; 2015 is looking incredibly bright with promise.

     Still, as much as I’d like to continue commending media creators for their effort in taking those baby steps towards the betterment of humanity, a closer look will show that we have yet to even graze the glass ceiling. Look even closer and you’ll discover problems so glaringly alive and well, you wonder why you even had to squint at all. A non-exhaustive list of tropes that continues to plague media contain, in varying levels and combinations: Aggressive Heterosexuality, What The Hell Is An Asexual, I Am A Strong And Independent Woman Who Don’t Need No Man Just Masculine Character Traits So You Can Take Me Seriously, Fat Is Funny,The Whiter The Better,Oh I Don’t Hate Queer People, I Just Don’t Think Marriage and Access To Other Human Rights Are A Necessity, and so on and so forth.

     Wherever you look, media creators are guilt-laden with misrepresenting communities that are already near-invisible or inaccurately depicted in media to begin with. Unfair, you cry, creators try! Why, yes they do! Just like J.K. Rowling tried and wrote one Chinese person and a handful of people of color (who barely even make it past supporting character status) and, like, one gay person (of course, we only find out about this inconsequential detail subsequent to the books). Just like video game developer Square Enix tried, releasing a female led trilogy for Final Fantasy as well asissigning a revealing costume to a male lead for Mobius, only to alter said look after the collective fan protest of “Too sexy! How can he fight in that?” Not that I have any qualms with the male physique, but it’s strange, really, how they couldn’t take the same liberties for their other characters (Read: Every Female Character Square Has Ever Written). An exaggeration, perhaps, but you get my point.

     The industry is chock-full of these hit-and-misses and other cases of cringe-worthy “representation” – or lack thereof, which is just as bad, because media doesn’t even acknowledge you exist; your identity is a myth, invisible, unreal.

     Media does not exist in a vacuum. Whatever is out there will inevitably worm its way into public perception and affect how people see themselves and how they form their identities. Maybe that’s the price we have to pay for this patch of civilization, being so affected by what media has to say; it’s our own little window to the world, that unifying language we can all speak.

     But intentions don’t always reflect their outcomes, and sometimes our wording can get a little too confusing. We begin to realize, maybe “trying” isn’t enough. But that really isn’t our call, is it? In the grand scheme of things, we’re just consumers – thirsty and educated and a little too impatient, for good reason, but still just consumers. What say do we have in the creative process of engineering human identity?

     It’s a travesty that most fans fail to realize the power they possess. In a digital world that is rapidly growing more and more convoluted day by day, social media is now a cornucopia of marketing insights. Producers are aware of the crucial role fandom plays in media creation and proliferation. They analyze our market behavior, aware that even the slightest ripple in a sea of voices can always make waves. In this game, we’re the foremost players; and if the battlefield is on the Internet, then we’re playing in our own backyard.

     So, now what? What’s the game plan? Well, reason with a touch of anger is always a good start (that, or the other way around). We start by making noise – making some relevant noise. Don’t like how most Filipina leads in telenovelas are fair-skinned when the average Filipina is, well, not white? Then don’t be silent. And don’t be casual about it either – being lukewarm won’t get you anywhere but slight nods of indifference. Get angry. Rant. Be honest with your criticism; even your favorite shows can be problematic. Bring these issues online, find like-minded people who agree with your cause and help you bring it to a greater sphere of awareness. Get angry, and don’t stop talking; if you’re starting to get on people’s nerves, then congratulations! As long as your rage is grounded on legitimate reasons, you’re doing it right. People are noticing, and that’s the whole point. Sooner or later you’ll find the pebble you threw into the water has now grown into a tsunami. Sooner or later they’ll be listening.

     After you’ve established your stand, you need to go out and find media content that actually represents you, because they exist, and they need your support. In her talk in Brown University, Natalie Tran explained: “If you see something and it resonates with you, then support it because at the end of the day it’s all about supply and demand . . .If you see it, then back it up, let it be known that you enjoy it. . . because why would they ever make content for you if you don’t exist as a market?”

     Start with looking for those works – not those with vague implications and half-hearted attempts at representing you, but those that explicitly say: this story is about you, wholly and honestly and unabashedly. Find those and talk about them, constantly, instead of 50 Shades or TFIOS. Tell your friends. Tell your neighbors, mom and dad, your professors, the world. The fandom, after all, is just a collection of people pointing at the object of their affections and saying, ‘look at this thing, this thing is great!’ And in this case, the louder you are, the better. This is how you garner publicity for those works.

     To take it one step further, if you’re gonna be angry, better make it worth your while. If you want your outrage to count, make it count with your wallet. Again, supply and demand. Show them that this time, you aren’t kidding around. You think the upcoming The Last Naruto movie is just another marketing ploy disguised within two hours of Aggressive and Unnecessary Heteronormativity? Don’t watch it. Say, f*ck this, I’m not doing this anymore, and take that 250 pesos you would’ve wasted in the cinemas and spend it on more worthwhile pursuits. Like, on media content with actual accurate representation! Or I don’t know, an 8-Inch Four Cheese Garlic pizza. That stuff is always great.

- Andrea Lopez
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<![CDATA[SWEET DREAMS (ARE NOT ALWAYS MADE OF THIS)]]>Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:01:38 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/sweet-dreams-are-not-always-made-of-thisFirst off, a bit of context:

     Dalagang Pilipina, my mom called it – the ‘do I’d been sporting for most of my life, and soon I’d only see it again in pictures. I wanted the shortest bob they had on record – at least, the shortest they could manage without making me look like a victim of dress code politics from an all-boys Catholic elementary school. I wanted it dyed light brown, with gold and blonde highlights.

      They told me it was going to be drastic, but that was the whole point. Drastic was good. Drastic was great. Drastic was a big fuck you to all the paralyzing thoughts that plagued me for most of my years and left me lingering at the fringes of life and all its wonders. Did you know people from Japan cut their hair short to symbolize a changed life? Either way, I thought it was poetic. And my hands were clammy. But that was okay. For the first time, I wanted to do something for myself.

      My hairdresser smiled as he combed through my hair, a practiced smile, the kind surgeon’s used on you before they gut you open. A question: “Okay lang ba sa boyfriend mo?”

     I didn’t have a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. And if I did, why would they need to be “okay” with it? It was my hair, and it was my choice. I was confused and a little bit miffed, but alas, manners don’t simply dissipate into thin air. Years of social and cultural integration did that to a person. No, I told him politely, and he gave me this sly, knowing look, like he’d just thumbed through my old diary and suddenly knew all my dirty little secrets. “Weh, di nga. Shouldn’t a pretty girl like you have a cute boyfriend?”

      I didn’t know how to answer that. I still don’t, to be honest. At least, not an answer involving any form of sassing that would potentially have merited me a horrible haircut and a thousand pesos, all gone to waste.

     Point is: it stuck with me, that conversation. I think about it a lot, along with many other cookie-cutter scenarios that all end with me progressively feeling angrier and more disappointed with humanity. Another development: the day I came to class donning anything but my trademark T-shirt + jeans combo, my lipstick devastatingly red (me! lipstick!) and my winged eyeliner so sharp it could kill a man, a friend came up to meal astonished and whispered happily, “There’s finally a man in your life!”

     Something about the way she said it made me want to punch something. “Or,” I replied, trying to salvage something, anything. “Maybe I just like make-up.” She snorted. Her eyes were laughing: oh, you’re so funny, they seemed to say.

     Why wouldn’t anyone believe me? For her, there was no doubt about it, no other plausible reason to explain my sudden affair with self-expression. For her, all of it was a show.The amount of bravery I had to teach myself to have, the self-love I was painstakingly remembering day-by-day, my body and my choices, all of it – casually torn from my own hands only to be slapped with a label of someone else’s name. Just like that.

     There was an answer she wanted, accepted as it was expected – that  universally acknowledged truth that rationalizes women’s choices with a need to please.

     Because apparently every normal, self-respecting teenage girl must be in want of a boyfriend. It’s something in a state of perpetual normalization and glamorization. We tell girls they must doll themselves up, because God forbid anyone sees them without any make-up. A bare, unmade female face – I shudder to even think about it. What would the boys think? We tell girls they have something to lose. We tell girls they are in need of saving. That they are only half of who they are until they find this hero, this strange entity to complete and rescue them from their miserable loneliness – The One, the faceless, profound being that lives out its ghostly existence in every love song, every shampoo commercial.

     You must find him, the oracle says. The first commandment. You must find him, even if you don’t find yourself. Girls have been branded this prophecy even before they were taught to speak.

     No wonder women like to view each other as competition. We size each other up as we cross paths in hallways, screenshot each other’s Instagram photos and send them to our friends in jest. We shun unconventionally beautiful girls for the way they wear their confidence, in a strange sort of way we cannot understand, because it stems from a place we do not know. And that’s the sad thing, really. We don’t know. Nobody taught us it was okay to celebrate ourselves. Nobody really sat us down and said, “It’s okay to love yourself, just as you are.Your body is intrinsically beautiful and pure and it is okay to be proud of it. You do not need a medal or a million likes or a boy to validate that.”

     One last picture: My father liked to tell me I was beautiful, constantly. I would smile, kiss him on the cheek. “You’re beautiful,” he told me again, one day. I smiled cheekily and replied: “I know.”

     “Don’t say that,” he reprimanded, because it was “inappropriate”. He meant it as a joke, obviously, but it stung because I knew where it was coming from.

     Don’t say that. Don’t claim it for yourself. Your beauty is only valid when it is acknowledged by someone else.

     I love my father, I really do. But I think this is just a testament to how we raise our daughters. It’s time to teach girls that they are their own before they decide to be part of anyone else. It’s time to teach girls that they have always been whole, after all this time.

- Andrea Lopez
cover photo source]]>
<![CDATA[Steph’s Playlist: The Baddest Females Edition]]>Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:01:14 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/stephsplaylist-the-baddest-females-edition
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With this month’s theme all about GRRRL Power, I think we all need to make some space on our iTunes for some amazing female artists.


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BORN FREE
Stalking Gia
     "Stalking Gia's music possesses explosions of self-confidence. The New York-based artist writes some alternative pop sounds that have a unique quality. Her newest track, "Born Free" is the jam for the girls who make a statement through their individuality. The addictive bassline and the rockin’ chorus are just some of the things that make this song one super-cool anthem of self-expression for all the ladies out there."



SINUS INFECTION
The Aquadolls
     The Aquadolls was founded in January 2012 by Melissa Brooks. Along with Kate Nash, they have an appreciation for feminism and the “girl-gang” mentality. Their songs have this trip-out and surf punk vibe as they sing about love and opening your mind. Their debut album, Stoked On You, is a great album to drive to by the way. 




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FORGET
Marina and the Diamonds
     Marina and the Diamonds is back with a new single, Forget. Marina has always packed her songs with her soaring vocals and genuine emotion. Although her album, Electra Heart was never one of my favourites, this song has somehow managed to find a place in my playlist. 



SUNSHOWERS
M.I.A.
     M.I.A. has infiltrated pop culture and has been one of the most influential artists of this generation. She’s been using her music to communicate the experience of a refugee, an immigrant kid, and an outlier. Her other hits, Bad Girls and Paper Planes, have also displayed her political statements while being incredibly subversive yet fiery to the mainstream.


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SODA
Azealia Banks
     Ms. Banks, you did it again. This is just one of the many songs I loved from her album, Broke with Expensive Taste. She’s got that classic and original rap flow. And, she really needs to form a girl gang with Lana del Rey and Charli XCX. Together, they’re gonna make the raddest and coolest music. 



GENESIS
Grimes
     Claire Boucher, widely known for her multimedia project, Grimes,has got some cool electronic sounds going on. There’s just something so intriguing about her music that makes you wanna add it to your playlist. Pop impulses are buried in gloomy tunes throughout most of the songs in her album, Visions. Her peculiar kind of music is one of the most interesting things to listen to.



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GOLD COINS

Charli XCX
     While Charli XCX has been well known for her songs like, Fancy and Boom Clap, she’s really got some other songs worth listening to as well. With the image of a pop punk artist accompanied by a bad girl persona, Charli is phenomenally gifted at delivering some new music. She can undeniably create some good music while embedding her liberated personality in the beats. And, did I mention she’s gonna be in Manila on April 18th? That’s one concert you should definitely not miss out on!





RIBS (Zeni Remix)
Lorde
     Okay, I’ve never really been a big fan of remixes. But, this one has been one of the most overplayed songs in my iTunes this month. Zeni did an amazing job reworking this Lorde song, without ruining it. With less than a thousand views on YouTube, this is by far my most favourite underrated finds. Seriously, I’m in love with it. 

- Steph Alsay
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<![CDATA[BORDERLINES]]>Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:11:26 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/borderlines     When I was a little girl, I was taught how to be lady-like. I have never even grasped and understood the depth of the term until I was in high school. I have always been a little different. I dislike wearing doll shoes; I love wearing heavy combat boots and dirty Converse sneakers. I abstain from listening to pop music; most of my favorite bands are categorized in the punk and hardcore genres. For that, I am proud. I am proud of being myself. I am proud of being female, and being able to like whatever I want to. Many question my preferences with queries like “You’re a teenage girl, aren’t you supposed to wear lipgloss and jam out to Katy Perry?”

     Men are expected to be hard, strong, and incapable of vulnerability. They are shamed when they show emotion, because, as Robert Smith of The Cure sings, “boys don’t cry.” Men are expected to be strong and capable human beings, but not human enough to be able to feel emotion. They are honed to become leaders, builders, and sculptors of our modern world, and as society puts it, they are boxed away from their emotions so they would not hinder themselves from their imminent domination. Women, on the other hand, are taught to rely on whoever we are going to marry. We are taught to make ourselves look good so that we would cater to the needs of men.

     Gender inequality has been a major issue ever since. In the Stone Age, physical ability was everything. If you are not strong, you would not survive. Men are most likely to rule in that era. In the 1800s, women did not have the right to vote. It was a long and tumultuous journey for the suffragists. Only in the 1920s was when women were finally allowed their right to vote. During the 1950s, professional jobs were closed from women, and were only getting paid sixty percent of what men did. The time when the feminist movement truly started to rise was in the 1960s. At present, women are stereotyped to be clueless, dependent, and too weak. The battle for equality continues to this day.

     Undoubtedly, a lot of people are greatly misinformed about what feminism really stands for. Most of these people see feminism as a movement that promotes hatred for men. A poll conducted in America in 2013 reveals that only 39% of Americans claim that they are feminists. Interestingly, the poll also revealed that 82% of the same population believe in the statement “men and women should be social, political, and economic equals.” It is a brief and factual translation of feminism, but the advocacy has been perceived as man-hating, negatively radical, and liberal, among other incorrect perceptions of the advocacy.

     Feminism has made numerous headlines in the last decade. Last year, Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” was the number one single on every music chart on our planet. The listening public devoured the song; it was being played on radio stations for weeks at a time. Although there is no doubt that the song boasts a catchy rhythm and an addicting hook, its lyrics held a controversial story about Thicke trying to woo a woman at a nightclub who may or may not want him sexually. The song, coupled with a racy video which involved three male performers playfully dancing around with topless women, awakened a mass of angry feminists on social media. Some thought it was just harmless pop music; some thought it was a form of mistreatment and disrespect to the female gender. We do live in a patriarchy, so our society is the way it is. What is possible, though, is that men should be taught firsthand that women are not just sex toys. Men should not objectify women and glorify themselves for being able to snag a hesitant woman at a nightclub.

     The media is a primary promoter of the fine line of different treatment between the two genders. An example is one that involves Miley Cyrus, who is well-known for her rather distasteful way of executing her art. She is always under fire for her actions, just like that instance when she swung on top of a wrecking ball, wearing nothing but boots on her feet. After the controversy the video garnered, headlines on the internet read “Miley Cyrus Sex-crazed and Pleasuring Sledgehammer in New Video.” On the opposite side, the media praises Nick Jonas for posing almost nude in a photo shoot with headlines like “Nick Jonas Has Blessed Us With a Mostly Nude Photo Shoot.” How come when women display their bodies to the world, it is widely judged and criticized? When men do so, it is seen as something so extremely acceptable that we call it a “blessing.” It is sickening how fazed we are by the bias we are faced with and that people see women’s bodies as incredibly offensive as compared to men’s.

     Free The Nipple is an equality movement with a mission to empower women across the world. It claims that acts of violence and killing are glorified by the media, but women’s bodies are censored and considered too obscene to be displayed in public or in various media platforms. It is a campaign that promotes equal rights for men and women, a balanced system of censorship, and legal rights for all women to breastfeed in public. Founded by a female American activist, its main stand is; “What is more obscene: Violence or a nipple?”

     When you stop and think about it, it is true. All around us are different kinds of violence and inhumanity. There are numerous crimes to solve, political anomalies to analyze, and systems to shake, yet what society dwells on is the apparent unnatural display of women’s bodies. Humanity has allowed itself to evolve into a monstrous and vicious species, but women and their bodies are still believed to be the enemy. However, women’s bodies could also be the culprits of crime.

     Rape is one of the most overlooked atrocities in our current culture. The story of rapist and victim is tremendously contrasting. A rape victim after the crime will have to suffer the interrogations of many, such as “What were you even doing out that late?” “What were you wearing?” or “Why didn’t you have anybody with you?” People make it seem like it is a woman’s fault that she was born a woman and therefore it will be her fault that she was raped because she went out at night wearing clothing she was comfortable in. Why not teach men respect and teach them not to treat a woman as a thing that could just be played with anyway they want? Why not teach men to see the opposite sex as plain human beings?

     Fifty-four percent of the cases of sexual harassment remain unreported, thus giving anti-rape activists a difficult time bringing the urgent problem of rape culture into the spotlight of our society. In recent times wherein photographs and videos of sexual assaults frequently surface on social media, the argument that rape is worthy to be the subject of public attention is becoming harder to defend. We have all become spectators of the morbid situation in our society that is rape.

     Each one of us has become witnesses to the diseases in our society, but at the same time, there are obstructions which make us unable to see our current situation. Our culture has bred us to just accept the plague of misogyny that gravely fogs our society. Women nowadays cannot even take a compliment from a man without growing paranoid. This example reflects that the various cultural aspects and norms that we all grew up with have promoted the notion of the inferiority of women to men.

     Women as little girls were taught to be feminine and delicate. We were taught how to cook, clean, and read. We played with plastic dolls dressed in frilly dresses. We aspired to be just like these dolls, but as everything became clearer to us, we grew aware of reality. We grew up to live up to the pressures of being skinny, pretty, and perfect, appearance-wise. We fall for boys who want nothing from us but the objects in between our thighs. To us, it meant everything to be wanted by that certain boy, whether if it was for the best reasons or not.

     Men as little boys were taught to be strong and independent. They were taught how to restrain their emotions and keep them boxed away. The games boys played involved strength and the acquisition of power. The more strength you had, the more of a man you are. To society, when a woman is stronger than a man, it is emasculating. When a woman is more successful than her male partner, it is emasculating. When a boy’s sister can hold her emotions better than he can, it is emasculating.

     The fact that a word such as emasculate should exist is bothersome. To emasculate means to deprive a man of his male strength, role, etc. What exactly is the true measure of a man? The idea of genuine masculinity is profoundly different for every generation. For this generation, being able to extensively provide for his family of their needs equals masculinity. Men suffer the burden of their assigned gender roles. Women are designated to stay at home and tend to their children, because this is what is expected of them.

     What if we lived in a world where a woman’s femininity was defined by her ability to be independent?  What if we lived in a world where a man’s masculinity was defined by his ability to show and display his true self and his deepest emotions? Or better yet, what if we lived in a world where we plainly saw each other as human beings? If the idea of gender roles were to be stripped away, we would not have to suffer the judgment of others and their caging us in their expectations. “You’re a boy and you like trying on make-up? Okay, cool!” “You’re a girl and you don’t wear bras? Great!” Imagine if every single component of our seven billion population’s mindset was such. Imagine if women and men were free from the borderlines and boundaries which prevent us from being ourselves. Our world would be free of the ideals, bias, and prejudice that give us the cause of wars and chaotic tendencies.

      Not all women are women. Not all men are men. 

     Each one of us falls into a place between the gender scale, because gender is not plainly black and white. The key to a world free from discrimination is to understand that we all bear different ideals of masculine and feminine, of happiness, of love, and of ability. Gender, and all other concepts which separate our humanity, should be subjective and free from the chains of stereotyping and expectation. Equality in all its forms should not only be seen as an idea, but it should be seen as an urgent necessity. A world free from discrimination is a world far-fetched from our current state, but it is not impossible once we start to wake up and realize that the power to change the world’s perception dwells within ourselves.

- Janina Talabis
SOURCES: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
cover photo
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<![CDATA[HOPE]]>Wed, 24 Dec 2014 10:28:24 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/hope
The generation today is a big disappointment and something to be proud of, If I may say so myself.

     Children at the ages of two already know how to operate an iPad better than my mom. Don’t you see? We’re too committed to technology and it’s embarrassing because kids these days just want to vomit at the thought of a book when literature should be loved and adored by many. Not many people know how to understand the beauty of art these days, which just brings more disappointment to me, honestly. The beauty of art is seen by how the artist sees the world, they do not know how to express their feeling into sounds neither words, so they use art as a way to express anything they believe. The internet is a drug and no cure has been found, once they have started, there’s no turning back. They become enslaved by the internet and they get brainwashed into thinking things.

     But you know what; I still have faith in our generation. I still have hope in the people who walk the Earth today.

     Because though it may seem that we people of today may look stupid with using terms such as “selfie” and other slang, there are still people who have the goodness of intention and mind inside of them. Now you’ll see on twitter these poem porn accounts and quote accounts most of those words were written by teenagers living a normal life, who experienced great emotions. Through these little actions, they inspire so many people, and these people express their thoughts because they became inspired and the cycle goes on and on and on. It’s a wonderful sight to see because we can actually revolutionize the world.

     We the generation today have the right mind, though our minds may be cluttered with thoughts that should have never existed in the first place, we understand what this world needs. And what the world needs today is somebody to make a move, to take action. We can lead the nation to the future they always wanted us to have.

     I have the right to call teenagers today heroes in disguise. Without adults even knowing, some of us have already saved lives because of communication through technology and that’s something to be proud of. Many teens suffer depression, self harm, bulimia and many more thanks to society with its double standards which actually do no help at all. These heroes talk them out of doing things that they will regret and it’s such a marvelous sight to see.

     The thing is sometimes people provoke them from taking action because they just want them to be safe but they should learn that they’re willing to sacrifice their lives to save an individual’s.

     Most people do try their best to stand out so that they could be remembered as someone who is not someone average or typical; we really try to be unique but the people of the world brainwash humanity into thinking that uniqueness is a flaw. But we shall prove them wrong. We shall defy their belief. We shall revolutionize society. Now all we need now is your help, because it all starts from you, because you are important, you are valuable, irreplaceable.

     The generation before tried to save the world, little did they know they were destroying it. We can change the world and it can all be because of you, now the choice is in your hands. The fate of the world is left in our hands.


- Samantha
click on the photo for the link
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<![CDATA[Fandoms: From the Perspective of Someone Who’s Never Been a Fan of Anything]]>Wed, 29 Oct 2014 11:05:20 GMThttp://www.reinventmag.com/your-turn/fandoms-from-the-perspective-of-someone-whos-never-been-a-fan-of-anything
     Cry your heart out over your love for a fictional character. Spend hours reading erotic fan-fiction about the power couple that the latest blockbuster is feeding you. Debate whether cutting yourself is enough to show your love for the actor who plays the dreamy lead in the latest vampire flick. Spend hours tweeting to the same actor to get him to notice you and whisk you away on a Hollywood adventure. Spend half your day dreaming of a fictional world created by some lucky writer who is currently swimming in your parents’ cash. Such is the daily routine in the life of the average member of a fandom.

     It takes a special set of qualifications to become a member of a fandom aka a fangirl or fanboy. One must have that special mix of craziness and teenage angst to become recognized as a true valued member of the cause. Don’t get me wrong, you can be perfectly normal and sane to be a fan of such franchises as Twilight and the Hunger Games, but these fangirls and fanboys are capable of reaching the peak levels of human adoration that sane fans just can’t. A fan likes things; fangirls and fanboys obsess over them. Don’t ever let yourself get them confused.
     I myself have always tried to stray away from all the hubbub of fandoms, mainly because it is impossible for me to understand how one can even dedicate one’s life to something that is fictional. But I’ve always had that level of curiosity as to how a fandom works. At first glance, it looks like something very simple to understand. You like a movie, you talk about it to your friend, you buy the film’s related merchandise and you are officially a fan. But fandoms are more complex than you’d think.
      A fandom is actually a community with its own doctrines and hierarchies. You may find it insane to read, but such things as the “No Spoilers” rule, and the great “Jacob or Edward” debacle has become more familiar to you than most laws inscribed in the constitution. Even the way fanboys/fangirls coexist seems to have some sort of hierarchy that is slightly akin to the caste system of India, with the newly inducted fans at the bottom, and the die hard, all-knowing and incredibly dedicated ones at the top. This hierarchy gives its high ranking members the right to call their lower comrades such names as “stupid” or “noob” or “dumb hoe who doesn’t recognize that Bella and Jacob belong together” Well maybe the last one was specific to me. The point is that Fandoms have taken a life of their own. A fandom isn’t just some random hobby you can pick up and drop at any time, it’s something that is a part of your life. This is where my problem with fandoms lie.
     It used to be that your taste in film, music or vide ogames would only be a side note when describing yourself. These days, if you ask a teenager to say something about his or herself, he or she’d most likely spout on about her love for her chosen fandom. It’s quite sad to me that a large population of us, the new generation of future mature adults, have chosen to define ourselves by the creations and stories of others. We’ve taken to putting these fandoms at the center of our lives, taking something fictional and unreal and giving it incredible value. So much value that we allow ourselves to be utterly consumed by our love for them. It’s come to a point where the entire life of a teenager can be described with a title of a film, and what’s worse is that these teenagers like it this way.

     I miss the times when adolescents actually wanted to be defined by their own terms, talents and personalities. We used to strive to be unique and independent from society’s norms, but the large amount of trendy fandoms has brought us to our knees and forced us to define ourselves as human beings on their terms.

     Yet is this so bad? Filipinos have been defining themselves by the terms of greater bodies for centuries. While the generation of our parents and some of our grandparents may relish in their independence and flower power mentality. Their forefathers devoted themselves and their lives to their respective churches. They value and definition as a human being was that of their contribution and love for the church, mirroring the situation that is humanity is in now. Who are we to judge the habits and lives of the teenage youth when the people we value as wise and all-knowing have lived a life that mirrors it.

     Fandoms have become something that people dedicate their lives to. Perhaps our ideals of self-expression and strive for uniqueness was a temporary transition from a life where religion and morals took the center stage at our life, to one where media and dedication to fandoms are at the forefront. Either way, we must realize that the teenage mentality is evolving, and perhaps the time to be unique has passed. 

-Chino
(click photos for source)
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