Teaching is not for the faint of heart and the heartless
MANILA, Philippines - A different kind of spotlight shone on Filipina sexuality Wednesday, December 12, when 3 straight-shooting women openly talked about it in the context of empowerment.
On Rappler’s Google Hangout, resident sexuality columnist Ana Santos was joined by the fun and fearless Myrza Sison, editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine Philippines and Spot.ph and editorial director of Summit Media Philippines, freelance photographer Mitch Mauricio.
Ana Maria Leal, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) national programme associate, was also on board patched in from the UN office in Makati.
Riding on the heels of the much-discussed discomfort of 5 male senators about the inclusion of the phrase "safe and satisfying sex life” in the Reproductive Health bill, the 3 women discussed various aspects of female sexuality they deal with in their respective fields: mass media, art and photography, and international development.
Mitch’s work in photography has focused on capturing female sexuality on film. One of her first exhibits on the matter was “Puerta” where Mitch photographed different vaginas, enlarged them and put them on exhibit.
“It was ‘The Great Wall of Vagina.’” Mitch said her main motivation was to engage people, especially women, to talk about their bodies and know about what “we look like down there.”
Myrza, who launched Cosmopolitan in the Philippines 15 years ago, spoke about how every issue of Cosmo contains articles on sex discussed in an open, frank manner. “The message of Cosmo has always been going after what you want, both in the bedroom and in the boardroom.”
It is a message that has resonated with thousands of Filipinas who have helped Cosmo attain and maintain its stature as a best-selling magazine.
Ana Maria added that sex, sexuality and the right to a safe, satisfying sex life was part of the international conventions on population and development like the 1994 Cairo Convention and the 1995 World Conference on Women in Beijing.
“The idea of safe, satisfying sex life is not something new,” said Ana Maria. Speaking about the Philippine context, Ana Maria said that the existing patriarchal society boxed women into certain roles that come with certain expectations. But more women are becoming more open about discussing sex, sexuality and pleasure openly now.
“I talked to some girls who said that before, they couldn’t discuss masturbation openly,” said Myrza.
“My girlfriends ask me and talk to me about birth control. It’s about options,” added Mitch.
“It’s really about so much more than orgasms and such. It’s also about your right to choose,” said Ana Maria.
All women agreed that having a healthy sense of sexuality and responsibility for the choices that come with them boost one’s self-confidence. It also influences what you want and how you go after it.
It’s all about being empowered, both in the bedroom and in the boardroom.