Pinay Herstories:

Filipinas in New York Debunk the Myth of the Perfect Pinay

 

January 11, 2009

 

 

More than 100 people gathered at Bluestockings bookstore in New York City to welcome the new year with an incredible line up of emerging Filipina writers and poets. On the second annual Pinay Herstories organized by Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), each Pinay writer reflected on the theme of the night, "The Myth of the Perfect Pinay," each articulating the various matters and issues that Filipino women face today.

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Photos courtesy of Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE)
           

 

For Immediate Release
January 11, 2008
Reference: Valerie Francisco, Chairperson, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment, 925-726-5768, fire.nyc@gmail.com

Filipinas in New York Debunk the Myth of the Perfect Pinay

New York, NY-- More than 100 people gathered at Bluestockings bookstore in the Lower East Side of New York City on a chilly winter night to welcome the new year with an incredible line up of emerging Filipina writers and poets. On the second annual Pinay Herstories organized by Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), each Pinay writer reflected on the theme of the night, "The Myth of the Perfect Pinay," each articulating the various matters and issues that Filipino women face today.

To open the night, Jackie Mariano, a 19-year old CUNY Hunter student and FiRE member, read her piece about growing up in Catholic school, fighting with the ideas of what a "good" Filipino girl would be and crafting her own story. Laurel Fantauzzo, a writer for various New York publications, recounted a stunningly honest and touching story about her 88-year old grandmother and the understanding that can only happen between them.

As the night unfolded Kundiman fellows, Sarah Gambito and Hossannah Asuncion, shared their intricate poems with the crowd. The rest of the night were filled with inspiring poets and authors Lisa Ascalon, Isis Arias, Sara Jimenez, Kimmie David and Hanalei Ramos who graced the stage with their own perfectly imperfect writings of their experiences. Rowena Cruz, the host and a graduate of Columbia University's graduate program in Creative Writing, ended with a story about the relationship between sisters, differing in able-body abilities. Cruz's spin on Filipinas' family obligations shows the oftentimes conflicted decisions made by Filipino women daily. Emmelle Israel's short film opened and closed the night with images of Filipinas to bring together the theme of the night.

The collection of artwork on stage at Pinay Herstories aimed to prove that there is no perfect Pinay rather, every Filipino girl or woman has unique struggles and obstacles that make them who they are. Pinays often find commonalities between their issues with their relationships, families and communities But the ways they shape their own strategies of survival gives each Pinay extraordinary character therefore making a "perfect" Filipino girl only a myth.

"Pinays all across the world experience the pressure of living up to a standard of the best nurse, the best teacher, the best domestic worker, the best daughter. And believing that there is a perfect Pinay standard keeps us from seeing that we all have our own sets of problems and only by telling each other our stories can we see how much we have in common," stated Valerie Francisco, chair of FiRE, "Events like this bring these stories together and allows Pinays to speak their truths."

Those gathered shared a moment of silence in solidarity for the Palestinian struggle and for the hundreds killed in Gaza by 15-day Israeli strike. FiRE joined thousands of people in a rally to end the military aggression in Gaza on the Sunday following this momentous event.###

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http://www.firenyc.org
Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE) is a mass-based women's organization serving New York City and its surrounding areas. We connect the Filipino diaspora to the women's struggle in the Philippines. By bringing woman-born and woman-identified people together, we challenge pervading stereotypes and create self-defined Filipina identities. For more information, please visit http://www.firenyc.org .

We are a proud member organization of GABRIELA-USA, the first overseas chapter of GABRIELA Philippines, with babae in San Francisco and Pinay Sa Seattle in Seattle, WA.

FiRE is a member of BAYAN-USA, an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. To learn more about BAYAN, please visit http://bayanusa.org/
 

     

Jackie Mariano, a 19-year old CUNY Hunter student and FiRE member, read her piece about growing up in Catholic school, fighting with the ideas of what a "good" Filipino girl would be and crafting her own story.

Laurel Fantauzzo, a writer for various New York publications, recounted a stunningly honest and touching story about her 88-year old grandmother and the understanding that can only happen between them.

           
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