#WHIPIT (not to be labeled as an '80s song)

Let's see...
I've been called bossy, bully, bitchy, witchy. And these were when I was still corporate. Now that I'm championing freelancing, I'm being called wanna-be, arrogant, sipsip, epal. Oh, I have so many labels, the whole list would fill a blog post all its own.
Do I let these affect me? Nah. I let them toughen me up.

Guess that's the reason why I was invited to Rappler and Pantene's #WHIPIT, a forum on women empowerment, an inspirational call out to all labeled women to be strong and shine.

Pantene tells the story in a one-minute ad.

And, with the help of Rappler, pulls it out into an elegantly-styled event that involved glass chairs, gold ribbons, scrumptious hors d'oeuvres, and quotable quotes on display.

The affair started with facts and figures. The realities of a woman's life were served by Ana Santos and Maria Ressa. Speaking of figures, I loathe that sample I've attached here. If I am passionate about a point --and you and I know it's a sound point-- then I should be able to express it MY way, and people should be able to deal with it. Hello! I have red and purple hair. There's no downplaying this bitch.

The highlight was a witty, mind-opening conversation with a panel of strong-willed women of success.
Felicia Atienza, founder and president of the Chinese International School Manila; Natashya Gutierrez, a multimedia reporter for Rappler; Samira Gutoc, a prominent voice in the Philippine Muslim Community; Karrie Ilagan, first Filipina managing director of Microsoft Philippines, and Giselle Tongi, Multitasker extraordinnaire --a theater actress, Rappler writer, and a women's rights advocate.

The culminating move was getting the women in the audience to stand up and rip all their stereotyping labels off of a huge board (From Whip It to Rip It! Yeah, I just had to.). Nice, liberating touch, if you ask me. The event closed with women sashaying out, fully empowered and fully em-freebied.

But this is just the beginning. #WHIPIT is merely a stepping stone to the launch of a series of stories about women who --in this highly critical and judgmental world-- choose to shine boldly. Watch out for those soon!

"I feel beautiful when I'm confident. Not 'I feel confident when I'm beautiful'."
-Natashya Gutierrez


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