March is Ladies Month and I am writing in celebration of this month of our role as women. I have daughters but no son and I have girls as grandkids but no boys. And I want them to live in a society where people get to see those female role models have struggles of their own and that imperfections are acceptable – that one does not reach the top in a smooth and easy ride.
The little girls in our house were last week playing – and one of the girls quits because it looks like she is not going to win. Whenever her sibling asked her to play, if she sees that her sister is likely going to win in that game she is not going to play. When asked why she is not joining in the game she said she is afraid to lose! That is the perfect time to teach children that to enjoy games and life as a whole we need to learn how to accept losses and failures and that winning is not everything.
I was so inspired by the article in New York Times dated February 23, 2021 “Imperfect Girls Make Perfect Role Models” that prompted me to write this column. The idea was so revolutionary and new that I thought, perhaps I can help spread the “word” to make future generations of women look, not just in the success but also into the struggles and what they term “as work in progress” of women who happens to be role models of this generation but somehow has stories to tell about the hardships and the challenges they have to hurdle to reach the top. “Girls want to please, judge themselves harshly, and suffer from rampant perfectionism. They need to see the screw-ups and failures and struggles in their role models, as well as heavy doses of perseverance” quoting from the same aforementioned article.
In desperation, some girls commit suicide because they see what other girls their age have and had done in social media and thought why these girls lives seem so perfect while their own is such a struggle and full of imperfections. They only see the façade and then compare themselves with these popular figures.
We have a society that looks up to perfection and accomplished women as role models. That winning is everything and losing is a sign of failure. In this pandemic, women leaders from different countries are outperforming the male leaders in handling the pandemic and we have a woman Vice-President in the United States and a woman Vice-President in the Philippines. But lest our future generations of women will only look at the accomplishments and felt they are not good enough to reach these positions, we should also show the stories that catapulted them to those leadership or top positions. What should inspire our women and guide them are the ways they handled failures along the way and the hard work they have to invest to be where they are now.
But more than that, I would also like to see future generations of women who do not compare themselves with others but who made the best of their talents and work on their weaknesses. That not all popular or accomplished women should be the role models of our daughters and granddaughters but also the woman who was happy enough to live a simple, contented life and yet doing her best to make the most of what she has, trying to overcome and handle the challenges and problems along the way and never giving up.
A woman who has the strength to face any crisis, like this pandemic, not from her own strength alone but in a power greater than herself – from a God she looks up to and seeks all the days of her life – should be the kind of woman every woman should look up to. She wakes up every day with confidence and determination to make the best of what life has to offer – in good times and bad times and joyful anticipation of the future.
One memorable moment in the life of a Filipina – Miriam Quiambao – is when our candidate for Miss Universe 1999 slipped and fell on-stage during the preliminary round of the evening gown competition. Despite the fall, she remained calm and collected, regained composure, and finished her walk with such grace and confidence that drew applause from the audience. She went on to win first-runner up and although she did not bring home the crown, all of us were proud of her. Looking back, most of us may not remember the pageant’s winner anymore but we can surely remember the 1st runner-up who fell and got up.
That should be the spirit of every woman – problems and challenges are part of life – but the important thing is we learn how to get up and move ahead with renewed vigor and vitality.
(Wilma Miranda is a Managing Partner of Inventor, Miranda & Associates, CPAs, and Chair of the Media Affairs Committee of FINEX, Treasurer of Negros Outsourcing Services, Inc., and member of the Board of Directors of KPS Outsourcing, Inc. The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinion of these institutions.)