These Filipinas Are Speaking Up Against Duterte's Sexism (And The World Is Taking Notice)
In spite of their naysayers, the women of the #BabaeAko movement have been recognised as some of the world's most influential people online.
On July 27, Sara Duterte-Carpio, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter, declared on her Instagram that the Babae Ako movement was "doomed to fail", writing:
"What he doesn’t like lies not in the gender, but in the character, he has no respect for weakness. And many women and some men are known to be damsels in distress, that #babaeako included."
However, only two days after Inday Sara's comments, TIME recognised #BabaeAko's women as one of the 25 most influential people on the internet.
TIME wrote that they had evaluated contenders based on their "global impact on social media and their overall ability to drive news".
Just two days ago, Sara Duterte posted that #BabaeAko campaign is doomed.
— JP Tanyag (@dumidyeypee) June 29, 2018
TIME's list of 25 influential online personalities include a wide range of personalities, such as K-pop group BTS; Rihanna; the student survivors of Parkland, Florida; and US President Donald Trump, among many others.
Why exactly has the Babae Ako movement been so influential?
To say that President Duterte has a pottymouth would be a huge understatement — since his presidential campaign, he's been shocking the world with misogynistic comments that range from jokes about female politicians' legs to promising to defend rape.
While many of his supporters continue to defend his words and actions as harmless jokes, the Babae Ako movement (launched on May 20) banded together to declare that they weren't standing for it.
"With every misogynistic statement, he is saying 'you can do the same because I get away with it," journalist Inday Espina-Varona, one of the movement's co-founders, tells TIME.
Az a nakatulog, late na naman ako sa wave pero—#BabaeAko
(Gumawa rin ng sarili: Babae Ako. Pangalan. Mensahe. Lalaban Ako) pic.twitter.com/bFQPeMR6E6
— Charm (@CharmLlares) May 20, 2018
The hashtag #BabaeAko serves as a reminder that sexist remarks aren't just harmless fun, that they affect people close to us. Blogger Noemi Dado writes: "#BabaeAko touches every daughter, her mother, her sister, and her lola. Women are endangered in an environment where a President, the leader of the nation, shouts out sexist remarks."
The Babae Ako movement isn't just going up against the president — it's going after the culture of machismo that has been long stirring in the country. Until that problem is properly addressed, movements like Babae Ako aren't going away any time soon.