Contemporary woman (the formidable ‘weaker sex’) | Inquirer Opinion

Contemporary woman (the formidable ‘weaker sex’)

I belong to the generation of women who, by virtue of birth and tradition, accepted the inequality of the sexes as a matter of course.  Male superiority was in the nature of things, a recognized biological heritage, a necessary  stage in mankind’s social evolution. As far as I can remember, it was a privileged womanhood  we experienced because to be a man meant to be laden with the responsibilities intrinsic to his role as master of the home. However, a woman’s commitment was no less important because it was to her that the procreation and rearing of future generations were entrusted—an affirmation of her capabilities, intellectual and otherwise, as the overseer of the human race.

The beauty and charm of a woman functioned like the colorful plumage of a peacock addressed specifically to a man’s libido. Nevertheless, a woman had other tricks that came into play as soon as the entrapment had been completed. The female ant relinquishes herself in the finality of procreation, but her human counterpart lives on to manipulate her man in seeming helplessness.


The task was exceedingly easy and often did not even warrant her full attention.  This was dispensed with like a nasty business that had to be put away.  Because the art had been passed from generation to generation in the manner of oral traditions, its mechanism remained imperceptible to man, its finer points polished through the ages. It was a wise woman who, in deliberate coyness, concealed a knowing smile behind her fan, her eyes revealing coded secrets only other women understood, while her husband strutted about utterly secure in his machismo.  After all, anonymity was a small price to pay for peace in the home and the privilege of some moments of leisure which she could fill with the business of her choice (mahjong, say, or pangingge).

The obsequious woman was in truth a formidable opponent, with powers latent in the flutter of her eyelashes or the tears that welled from her doleful eyes. A dramatic production like this could get her the moon (on a golden platter, if you please). It was pathetically easy. Women knew who the true victor was in the battle of the sexes. There was no need for blatant protests; it was enough that she knew.


Today, it is no longer enough. The woman has become so adept in the game that she no longer wants to play.  The challenge of other battlefields beckons because constant practice has sharpened her wits to a point where she is prepared to face man in open combat in his own arena. Her expertise must find expression in the supreme test of open competition, if only to prove that she can hold her own and is capable of more purpose than the bearing of children.

The invasion has the thoroughness and vengeance of a well-planned war strategy, so that man confronted with women in every direction has become confused about his own sexuality. To strengthen her position, the wily weaker sex has not only taken to wearing trousers but also has to a marked extent availed herself of man’s body-building techniques to present him with a truly auspicious foe whose potentials had remained dormant since Eve.  Man must now contend with his woman in full battle regalia if he is to uphold his manhood, which he feels is threatened by the intrusion of the ubiquitous female into the sanctuary of his domain. The issue of population growth being what it is today, woman is no longer admonished to do her thing and is now free to exercise her potentials to their full flowering.

The female acumen for transcending the doldrums of her domestic functions, of necessity, lay quiescent in her genes for centuries. She had merely been “the hand that rocked the cradle,” “the power behind the throne,” “the face that launched a thousand ships,” or the simple little wife who entertained no vision beyond the intricacies of her embroidery or the demands of her culinary endeavors. It was Nature’s intent for woman to play the supporting role in the evolution of civilizations because to her was commissioned the responsibility of establishing and fortifying the family unit, which was to be the seat of man’s spiritual, emotional and intellectual development.

Although a woman’s instrument for thinking is no different in its physiological content, divine intervention provided her with a special ingredient—the female essence.  While a father primarily concerns himself with honing his son’s instinct for survival, a mother on the other hand addresses her attention to his spirituality—the element of life that makes him distinctly human. Her influences can be discerned in the undercurrent of his personality, the quiet stream whence come the intuitive impulses of love, compassion, righteousness, mercy, and tenderness—the spiritual timbre that punctuates his actions and decisions which make him progressively more and more himself.

We cannot in all honesty demean the woman’s role in the evolution of mankind and society.  A woman has been many different things in many different stages of history, always supportive, always filling a need.

Today when mankind is on the brink of annihilating itself and has made of our world a veritable hell, the necessity for the woman’s touch has never been more urgent. Perhaps this is the reason woman has emerged from behind the man to take over the reins of society and, energized by the delicate nuances of her female essence, to make this world truly human.

So, gentlemen, move aside, we are taking over.

Carmelita Roxas Natividad describes herself as a retired mother and active grandmother who likes to write, garden, and bake, in that order.

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TAGS: Carmelita Roxas Natividad, Commentary, Contemporary woman, opinion
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