In May, the issue of misogyny rippled through the internet after the recent shooting at UCSB. A gunman, crippled with loneliness, killed six and injured thirteen people in Santa Barbara, California. In a series of videos, the gunman, Elliot Rodger, unleashed a tirade of self-deprecation and misogyny, wondering why women weren't attracted to him. This latest shooting has revealed the frighteningly hidden levels of misogyny buried in Americans. Rodger has gained sympathy points all over the country as if being rejection is enough justification to for him to start a “war on women.”

In Rodger’s last video, he spoke about his loneliness. “I’m 22 years old and I’m still a virgin…. It’s not fair. You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it. It’s an injustice, a crime…. I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman.”

His words are so saturated with self-obsessed narcissism and insanity, but men everywhere found solace in Rodger’s misogynistic explications, which in turn started the Twitter hashtag, #NotAllMen. People would use the hashtag to separate themselves from Rodger’s action, saying that not all men are misogynistic psychopaths, so it’s wrong to assume all men are like that. It was a fair point, but it was ignoring a significant portion of the population that is misogynistic, that do blame women for their loneliness. Not only does it undercut the idea of feminism by creating this impression that feminists are dedicated to the annihilation of men, but it gives men an excuse to shy away from the glaring problems that people like Rodger pose to the fight for gender equality.

The hashtag, #YesAllWomen, took Twitter by storm. Women everywhere shared their experiences dealing with misogyny. They tweeted about the constant hyperawareness of their actions in order to protect themselves, such as having pepper spray in hand as you walk to your car in a parking deck. There were tweets criticizing the patriarchal dismissal of women saying no, such as having to say that you have a boyfriend in order to stop a man from hitting on you.

A significant aspect of Rodger’s ignorance that speaks wonders about his twisted mindset is his view of women as one whole being. “You girls,” he repeatedly says, as if all the girls in the world conspired to give him a lifetime of loneliness. Perceiving women as all the same people with the same thoughts and same personalities will impact the way you interact with them. Rodger’s perception of love as the be-all-end-all is that a woman’s only purpose in life is to be attached to a man. The objectification of women puts that part of the population on a pedestal and if they fail to reach it, misogyny worsens.

It’s true that not all men are like Rodger. No one with a functioning mind would think that a psychopath speaks for men all over the world. Not all men are alike. But at the same time, we need to start assuming the same for women.

Photo Credit: Anita Finlay

Education Equality in the Motherland

Since 1925, the basic education system in the Philippines has been surveyed and reformed countless times. However, such reforms haven’t exactly proved to be successful. The current Philippine education system, which was modeled to reflect the K-12 system in the US, continues to face much critique. Some argue for a decentralization of the basic education system by installing school-based management, as to cater to the needs of each particular socioeconomic environment and other influential factors. According to the World Bank, Philippine primary school enrollment is relatively high. UNESCO reports that literacy rates are also high. However, the education system continues to struggle with lack of resources, understaffed schools, and managerial and organizational issues. Secondary school enrollment is usually lower. As of 2012, the Department of Education (DepEd) made school compulsory. Though enrollment may be higher than it has been in the past, there is a severe lack of employment opportunity for after graduation.

Many activists and reformers are pushing for efforts to revitalize the education system, such as Teach for the Philippines; they continue to work toward education equality throughout the PI. However, how can a nation create larger, systemic change to a problem that countries face across the world?


The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed in 1967, is currently pushing for regional economic collaboration by 2015. Member countries include Brunei, Burma/Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia , Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines. It is even a goal to use English as the primary language of communication, which is why there’s a major push for language acquisition across ASEAN. However, according to a 2008/2009 report, the Philippine Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM) notes that the country has a poor performance of improving the education system, unlike many other Asian nations. This creates even further concern for the future of the Philippines.

In addition to primary and secondary school reform, there is also a call to address higher education. As ASEAN promotes the movement of goods, services and labor between its member countries, the Philippine Daily Inquirer raises and important question: “What does this mean for our students who will be graduating from universities in a few years and will then be looking for work?”

As employment opportunities are already scarce, not just in the Philippines alone, but across the Philippine diaspora, I wonder what will happen to my friends and family. The struggle to find work continues to grow more competitive. Some of my relatives and family friends, despite attaining a higher degree back in the PI, are now domestic helpers or working in retail, for example. How is this fair, when such hardworking individuals are forced to find work outside of their expertise or training?

Many Filipinos have migrated, leaving behind families in search for work. Something must be done to reverse this “brain drain”, and I believe should be continuous support and investment in education. We need the youth of the PI and the larger Pilipino community to know we believe in them by providing them with the tools needed to succeed in a global community, and not just for economic gain.