At first glance, owning our bodies seems to be a concept that’s both obvious, and easy to understand, but if you look around you, there’s actually a lot of stories and instances where that doesn’t really happen. Today, we hear some stories of people losing autonomy over their own body, and what you can do when you’re put into a situation like that.
“I’ve never seen the importance or immediate need to find a husband or start a family. But I guess my aunt and uncles don’t see things that way. Ugh. Every time I go to a family reunion, they always tell me, “Where’s your boyfriend? Mamaya gurang gurang ka na at bulok na yang bulaklak mo niyan!” They want me to go find a man to settle down with and have kids without even thinking if that’s something I want.” – Strong Indepent Woman, 27 years old
What you can do when this happens: While its tempting to stand up, slap your aunt in the face, and have a shouting match with your aunt about her and her thoughts on your vagina, most of us know that this is not an option for us to choose (unless it’s something you can do with your family then by all means go defend your honor!). The last thing you want your relatives to see you is immature as this will only fuel their ideas that you don’t know what’s best for you. What you can do is to take deep breaths, try to stay calm, and maybe have a discussion with your relatives about your views and theirs. After all, the chances you have of being understood are higher if you try to talk to them, but if they prove to be stubborn, its not too bad to just calmly avoid the “special” tito, tita, or any other relative in the future.
“I’ve been saving myself for marriage. I grew up with my mom instilling the value of that to me, and throughout the years I guess it’s just something that stuck. I didn’t quite want to change. that, but most of the time my friend’s don’t seem to understand that. Mga lalake kasi so gets madalas mapagusapan who you’ve been doing and how often stuff like that. Every time the topic of me waiting till marriage gets brought up they end up laughing and making jokes about how baka di lang ako makakuha ng babae, and na pambihira naman daw yun. Its my choice not to have sex until marriage, but they make it seem like its such a crime to be doing that.” – Waiting to be a Groom, 24 years old
What you can do when this happens:Next to family, friends are some of the most influential and important sources of support we can find in our social circles. However, sometimes friends can also be sources of pressure leading many of us to succumb to peer pressure on things that we normally wouldn’t want to do. In situations like these, its important for us to remember that your friends don’t own or dictate your life. At the end of the day, your decisions should still be made by you, and not because of someone else and their opinion. If looking for better friends and like-minded individuals isn’t an option for you, simply developing the moral backbone to stand your ground during times like this is a temporary solution you can have for now. After all, confronting them is also an option you can look into later on.
“My mom once took me to the OB because she was concerned I had PCOS. I was around 16 back then. Mom knew that we most likely had to have a colposcopy done, but when she suggested that to the OB, rather than asking anything about my medical history, the OB asked “Virgin pa po ba siya?” I answered yes, and right there and then the OB refused to do any procedures involving my vagina because she was worried about taking away my virginity. When my mom argued with her about it, the OB actually said, “Napakairresponsable mong magulang! You’re just going to throw away your daughter’s virginity like that?! Anong klase kang nanay?” My mother and I walked out of the office, and needless to say we’ve never gone back to that OB again. – Sad and Shookt Patient, 26 years old
What you can do when this happens:Going to the doctor’s office is scary enough without having a doctor from hell. Often times, many people struggle with going to the doctor due to the fear and uncertainty that the results of heading there might bring, and the last thing people need is a doctor who treats their patients with crass and disrespect. When a situation like this comes up with your doctor, the some of the options you can do is to respond in a calm and professional manner (as it never helps to stoop to the level of people like that), and find another doctor. One who will not only treat you well, but also respect the values, views, and decisions you and your family make. You can also ask your friends for their recommendations on which doctor to go to, saves you the hassle of encountering one that has awful bedside manners. It also helps to go with a friend! This way you don't feel as vulnerable as if you are to go alone.
We’re sure that these stories are just some of the many that a lot of us encounter when it comes to other people invading on our body’s autonomy. The suggestions we provided are just some of the many things people can do, and with the proper support systems and community that we can form with each other, I’m sure we can come up with more ways to deal take full control and ownership of our own bodies.