Sunday, March 7, 2010
HerStory: Lorena Barros
The role of femininity is often mistakenly defined by words such as passive, demure, submissive. Fortunately for us all, Philippine heroine Lorena Barros single handedly shatters these conventional ideas and redefines femininity in a way that makes the very word synonymous to warrior. Poet, activist, and co-founder of Makibaka, a women's militant organization, Barros is the very epitome of fierce. Active during a period of leftist unrest dubbed notoriously as the First Quarter Storm, Barros led the movement that defined the "New Filipina", serving as an inspiration for all women who know what they stand, live, and fight for.
In the 1970's, when the Philippines was under the rule of the Ferdinand Marcos regime (yes, the husband of the infamous Imelda), Martial Law was imposed to the entire country. Declaring martial law meant shutting down most freedoms of speech, media, and civil liberties, provoking more unrest from a people who has known a presidency and a government wrought with accusations of corruption. Barros, a radicalized intellectual, gathered a fellowship to spark a movement to not only fight for freedom, but to lead a woman's liberation movement that encouraged new roles for Filipinas as warriors, fighters, and adamant defenders of their rights.
“We are suffering from a feudal sense of values in which women are considered adjuncts of the home—for the children, for the kitchen and for the bed…We are not trying to put down these traditional roles, we just want more active involvement from the Filipino women,”- Lorena Barros
Only in her 20's, Barros was well ahead of her time! In addition to being a founder of Makibaka, she also joined the New People's Army to become a guerrilla fighter, further solidifying her role as a warrior in a movement that fought for democracy. On March 24, 1976, government troops raided a hut in Barros' village, where she met her untimely death at the young age of 28. It is believed that she insisted her comrades to hike up to higher grounds for protection while she, the central command, insisted on waiting for another to return.
Her nobility and courage? Female power at it's best, indeed.