Supporting Women Every Day In Beauty, Sports, And More

Explore why Women’s Month is more than just a name. Discover why supporting women in beauty, sports, and beyond should happen every day, not just in March.

Last month, in March, during Women’s History Month, we celebrated the significance of women’s achievements and strength.

But it doesn’t end there; there are still a lot of things to tackle, a lot of topics to discuss, and so much work still to be done.

READ ALSO: Herstory’s Breakthroughs: Groundbreaking Contributions Of Women In Science Throughout History

Empowered and Unstoppable

Women are complex. And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. We often hear about how complex women are, how they want this but also want that, how they desire many different things–well, they should. 

Women should want many things; they are not obligated to be just one thing; they encompass many facets. Women are complex.

Throughout March, a month dedicated to women, they were portrayed in various roles and descriptions, all deserving to be heard and acknowledged.

During the Equal Play event celebrating Filipina women in sports, Atty. Mariana Lopa, a labor and litigation lawyer and also the University Athletic Association of the Philippines’ (UAAP) deputy commissioner for girls’ and women’s basketball, shared her experience. 

Atty. Mariana Lopa/Photo via Instagram @marianalopa

She mentioned, “When I played back in the early 2000s, there was this stereotypical image of basketball as a boys’ game, so for us, we just played; we weren’t really watched.”

She highlighted how “There are no toilets for women in most sports facilities.” During a UAAP game in 2023, she had no choice but to coordinate changing times for male and female referees in the same room due to this issue.

Ceej Tantengco, host of the sports podcast Go Hard Girls, shared her experience talking to some Filipino-Japanese National University (NU) Bulldogs players. They were culture-shocked when they came to the Philippines. No one had told them that basketball was mainly for boys.

Ceej Tantengco/Photo via Instagram @ceejtheday

The Battle Within

In a traditional society like the Philippines, gender stereotypes are prevalent. 

Discussions during the event touched on how boys typically gravitate toward “masculine” pursuits like basketball, while girls are often directed toward activities like volleyball.

Tantengco noted that people often label and categorize women. She highlighted how volleyball players receive comments like, “You don’t look like a volleyball player. Your legs are big.” 

Tantengco explained that this situation poses a real struggle because female athletes need strong legs, underscoring how society tends to stereotype female athletes based on their physical appearance.

Tantengco stated, “We need to expand our imagination. It starts with us.” Lopa added, “Malayo pa, pero malayo na,” emphasizing that while there is still a long way to go, we have made significant progress.

The Beauty and Power of Women

Labels, categories, stereotypes–these are what women have had to endure over the years. 

It’s as if you have to choose one thing and be that for the rest of your life. It’s as if you can’t be two things at the same time. 

You’re a woman? Oh, don’t join sports; you’ll get big legs. You have to look feminine.

Oh, you want to get married? You have to have a kid at a certain age; otherwise, it’s “unfortunate, considering you’re a woman.”

It’s unfortunate that society still expects married women to have children, despite the myriad of other fulfilling paths they could choose. 

Additionally, it’s unfortunate that people still feel the need to comment on matters that shouldn’t concern them.

This is the issue that L’Oreal Philippines aims to address during the “Sayang? No, #ImWorthIt” event.

L’Oreal Philippines announced their four ambassadors for this campaign: Iza Calzado, Pia Wurtzbach, Belle Rodolfo, and Deng Garcia.

Belle Rodolfo, Pia Wurtzbach, Iza Calzado, and Deng Garcia/Photo courtesy of L’Oreal Philippines

Each of these women shared their own experiences with the phrase “sayang ka.”

Strength in Her Story

Photo courtesy of L’Oreal Philippines

In a video on Instagram, she recounted how, in her 30s, people would ask when she was going to get married, and after she got married, they asked when she would have a baby. 

She became pregnant at 39 and gave birth at 40. Calzado stated, “Now that I’m 41, it’s never about anyone else’s beauty standards, never about fitting into anyone else’s timelines.”

During the event, Calzado posed the question, “Now, my question for you is, are you helping to build or break a woman’s spirit?”

Calzado, an actress, wife, and mother, is also a co-founder of She Talks Asia, an advocacy at the forefront of championing women’s rights and empowerment.

Iza Calzado with husband Ben Wintle and daughter Deia/Photo via Instagram @missizacalzado

On the other hand, when asked about reaching the pinnacle of success, Wurtzbach expressed one of her fears: that Miss Universe would be the peak of her achievements.

She shared her experiences during Miss Universe and how people criticize everything she does. People wanted to label her as just Miss Universe, or as an actress, or a culinary chef.

Pia Wurtzbach and husband Jeremy Jauncey/Photo via Instagram @jeremyjauncey

Rodolfo and Garcia, on the other hand, talked about being a queer couple. Rodolfo said, “My goal is that for every woman that ever sees this campaign, do know that however you are living your life without harm to others, it is equally valid.”

“All of us are multifaceted,” she added. 

Deng Garcia and Bell Rodolfo/Photo via Instagram @bellerodolfo

Women Defining Their Own Power

Among them—Calzado, Wurtzbach, Rodolfo, Tantengco, Lopa, and all other women out there—what stands out is how they’ve grown stronger and more sharpened despite enduring years of harsh criticism. 

But it shouldn’t have to be this way. Imagine a world where, instead of facing tough love, we offer support and empathy to one another. Isn’t it time we make this shift? It’s a simple change that can make a world of difference.

Women find empowerment and self-expression through many different things: makeup, beauty routines, sports, and even seemingly small gestures that may go unnoticed. These acts can be powerful ways to demonstrate self-love.

We should actively build confidence and ensure that no one shatters it, just as we should avoid shattering anyone else’s.

Strength in Sisterhood

Confidence, a universal theme, connects women from diverse backgrounds and interests, fostering unity and empowerment, especially during Women’s Month.

In today’s context, if we translate it into social media lingo, there’s a term called “a girl’s girl.” 

This means being supportive of other women and defending them against any harassment, against any negativity. 

This attitude views girls not as competition but as sisters, someone they care for as much as they care for themselves.

As Women’s Month has ended, I hope we all continue to embody the spirit of “a girl’s girl,” supporting women in every possible way.

Let’s remember that our celebration does not signal the end of the fight for women’s rights. 

There’s still progress to be made, that’s for sure. But looking at how far we’ve come, we can say with confidence, “Malayo pa, pero malayo na”—we’ve made significant strides in empowering women through sports, beauty, and beyond.

Banner photo courtesy of L’Oreal Philippines.

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