The anti slut-shaming booth encouraged women on campus to write about their experiences and thoughts about slut-shaming, mainly to parade it to men, and even other women, who slut-shame people. In our interview with Andrea, she says that the inspiration for the thesis came from her personal experience with slut-shaming where a few boys in school started to slut-shame her when a photo of her in a bikini was posted. She says, "I wanted people to know--I wanted girls especially--to know na if they are experiencing that that it's not their fault. They're not alone, and that 'yun nga it's not okay. They don't deserve it and they're not asking for it." One of the reasons why the thesis became so popular in the campus was --well, who wouldn't be attracted to a bright pink booth smack dab in the middle of campus? Another is that it talked about a topic that was finally given attention. Yes, people may now what slut-shaming is, but I don't think people fully grasp the concept of slut-shaming which leads to people not being aware that they themselves are doing it. And Andrea's project was very effective in making people in school more aware of the issue.
We also asked them how art contributed to the effectiveness of their campaigns. Mags says, "Art has always been a tool to voice out feminism". She says collaging has always been a feminist tradition, "collage is a way to deconstruct reality and to put it together as how you see it should be. And that's a big thing that feminism has going on, which is [that] we try to dissect what we have now in society so that we can show it the way we want to see it. " While Andrea says, "it brings the message across a lot easier. It gives a stronger impact also. Because as we know this generation is very image-based, we don't like reading a lot, we're very visual, so art has the power to capture the attention span of people nowadays. So that, you know, the message comes across in one look, so that they don't have to spend so much time in figuring out what it is."
When asked to define what women empowerment is to them, they answered:
Mags: I think women empowerment is giving women space to think for themselves, to act for themselves, to speak for themselves. That means giving them a choice at all matters. So, it's not so much telling women na "Oh puwede ka maging hubadera. Go!", it's more of "If you want to, you can. If you don't want to, that's fine as well." Parang, it's just accepting women for who they are.
Andrea: I think women empowerment is giving women a voice. Kaya nga ako "Uncensored" 'di ba? (That's why I'm "Uncensored", right?) People only listen to women when their voice is that of men's. They only want to listen when it's a masculine voice. Umm... hmm... I don't know...
Mags: Wow, do you want me to explain? *laughs*
Andrea: *laughs* Yes, please!
Mags: I actually read an article related to that really recently, and it's about how we only respect women when they have very masculine traits --when they're stern, when they're unfeeling, when they're uncaring. But, what we don't understand is when we do that, it's not really empowering women, it's more of empowering men more. So, I think what Andy is saying is, by giving women a voice, we should allow women to be heard. We should let them go with whatever their female instinct is --if that is to feel or if that is to not care-- it depends, whatever. What is important is to let out what they're think and what they're feeling.
Andrea: When we see a girl crying, it's like we immediately judge her or something for being too sensitive or too emotional. Gusto natin lagi na parang 'yung nga stern or objective, but we're not like that! (We always want women to be stern or objective, but we're not like that!) We have to realize na feminism is not making women and men the same because we're not. It's accepting the differences, and not putting them in the same box. Yeah, I think women empowerment is giving women their own voice, and not a voice that is dictated by their society or a voice that people want to hear.
L-R: Mags Ocampo and Andrea Beldua
by Daniela Regis
Finally, we asked them, "What's next for Faultless and Uncensored?" Andrea answered with, "I think I want to expand it to more schools kung kaya (if possible). Like, this one girl from UP, she's asking if I could bring it there. So, she might try to help me to bring it to UP." Jokingly, she adds, "Para siyang 'Uncensored Tour'! (It's like having an "Uncensored Tour"!)" Meanwhile, Mags actually received an award for the Ateneo Socio Civic Engagement for National Development (ASCEND) that day, and was invited to exhibit in Design Week Philippines. She was also asked by someone from her hometown of Tarlac to have an exhibit due to some plans of starting a crisis center in the area.
Special thanks to Andrea and Mags
- Kim xx (with the help of Anna Cayco and Daniela Regis)