#SheInspiresMe: Hear the empowering stories of Filipinas on Twitter

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and Twitter is back with its Southeast Asia-wide #SheInspiresMe campaign to celebrate the influential voice of women in various communities such as music, advocacy, arts, and NFTs just to name a few.

This year’s theme is all about breaking the bias, aiming to help create a gender-equal world where women can confidently use their voice and #OwnIt.

#SheInspiresMe aims to recognize how women contribute, shape, and lead key moments on Twitter. From beauty queens, entrepreneurs, authors, artists, gamers, doctors, and all in between, here is a #IWD Twitter Lists of multi-hyphenated Filipinas to follow on Twitter:

Alex Bruce says that her song, Dime Girls is the best representation of the gender-related challenges she encountered and how she won over them. On her songwriting process, she shares that she considers going to Twitter as her pastime, wherein she looks for feel-good content that will lift up her mood and give her the inspiration to write songs. 

“When us women know our worth, and us not relying on anyone, us being independent. Be free. Be yourself. Dime girl, we’re gonna show the world that we’re doing just fine!”

Alexa Asahina is a model, streamer, and pro player who won as the Queen of Tekken Philippines during a showmatch battle for Bandai Namco’s Tekken Tournament in 2020. Asahina believes and proves that hard work and passion, and not gender, are the basis of strength in gaming. More importantly, she believes that representation matters, so she goes to Twitter to express her thoughts and to empower women in the gaming field.

“To be honest, the gaming industry is a male dominated scene. And I’ve always believed that women have a place there as well. I’m creating a community, a safe space for women where you can play (along) with them, talk to them, share ideas on how to do better without being judged like ‘oh, that’s just a woman.’ I’ve experienced a lot of discrimination where they’ll be like ‘oh, why are you here, don’t belong here’ because they think I wouldn’t be as strong as them. I have always wanted to tell them that you can be strong. We can be strong. We are strong.”

Chezka Gonzales (@pilotchezka_NFT)  is a Filipina pilot, reservist, registered nurse, and more; but it’s her newfound passion for NFT that took off and inspired her to found her own community, Women Of Substance, wherein they champion charities, scholarships, and empowerment not just in the country, but also for women around the globe. She shared that she started her NFT journey on Twitter, wherein she met other enthusiasts who inspire her and allow her community to grow.

“Twitter is more on if you are actually a crypto enthusiast and NFT enthusiasts or even experts — and they’re all here (on Twitter). Twitter has helped me reach a lot of people in the whole world, and I also educate myself and learn also from these experts. Women of Substance NFT is all about women empowerment, diversity, giving scholarships, helping charities, and giving job opportunities. I want that Twitter page to be very inspirational, that’s why we publish videos with stories of inspiring women every day. And it’s important for Filipinos also to know about NFT because this is the future. It can open doors and opportunities, especially for artists and young artists to showcase their artwork and at the same time earn from it…and I hope to see more female and NFT projects.”

  • Happee Sy (@happeehour) – Chief Operating Officer, PULP Live World

Dubbed as ‘Inang Reyna of K-pop’ among Filipino fans, Happee Sy shares that fan reactions on Twitter and interacting with her friends on the platform makes her happy. As an icon in the live entertainment business, she is in charge of the nitty-gritty to give the best show for the Filipino audience. Happee shared that she never let her gender dictate what she is capable of doing, hence female empowerment for her is letting women pursue whatever they want without judgment because the possibilities are endless.

“Share your happiness with others! Share your journey with others! Use your Tweets to spread positive vibes and share the stuff of Hallyu that inspires you and makes your heart beat happy throughout the day.”

Jikamarie, the musician who penned the hit Lutang, shared that challenges related to gender bias existed even before she debuted as an artist, and being in the limelight does not spare her from comments targeting her as a woman, instead of focusing on her artistry. Nevertheless, Jikamarie believes that people should lend their strength to support women and other communities. For her, being on Twitter helps her to see and learn from other peoples’ perspectives.

“I just keep on doing what I love doing—music. I do receive comments saying that they love that I represent someone who looks like a part of themselves, so I still feel compensated for the hate on my looks. As long as I know that majika (my supporters) are still inspired by my music, and I’m proud of my releases, I don’t see a reason to stop… Twitter lets me gauge how the people of today absorb, process, and relay information. It also helps me evaluate how my supporters perceive me and my craft, as I can reach out to them on an intimate level, since they can reply to my tweets and vice versa.”

Leanne & Naara is one of the sought-after artists today, with their album Daybreak winning the Album Of The Year at the 34th Awit Awards last year. While it’s inevitable that they encountered gender bias and stereotypes in their journey, that very challenge became their drive to use their music to empower women. The duo also goes to Twitter to connect with like-minded people and draw strength from each other.

Leanne: “I think it’s always been a challenge for women artists to navigate this maledominated industry. There’s always these things you hear that might break you if you’re not careful…We’re also more prone to being compared to other women artists, which is hard to understand when all of us are clearly treading our own paths. It’s these very practices that drive us to use our music to empower women. We make sure that the messaging is cohesive, so it’s seen not just in our songs but in everything we put out— photos and music videos too. The image of empowered women is what we always try to uphold.”

Naara: “I get inspired by people who are fearless in expressing what they feel. Most of the people on Twitter are like that. They use their voice in letting people know what’s right and what’s wrong so when it comes to my work, as long as I know that what I’m doing is right and that they can relate to it, I use that as a channel on improving my work and also inspiring other people, especially women.”

People might have heard Mandy Nokom‘s (@mandynokom) voice on the airwaves, commercials, and other projects, but she admits that the industry still has the tendency to restrict women in a box. For one, she has experienced being limited to a particular role, when in fact her voice can bring life into more characters that transcend gender or age. Hence, being on Twitter is helpful to free herself from the box and to widen opportunities and support for women in their field.

“I am grateful for online platforms such as Twitter because I am able to show another side of me and not be afraid because there are also people who sound off and agree with what I have to say! I get to show more of my personality and interests that are ever evolving, to casters and producers that are potentially in the same platform and they can possibly see it and could tap it into different creative pursuits. I am also very grateful to women casting directors who understand the struggle and they do their best to properly tap into your potential without breaking your spirit!”

Mela Habijan is the first-ever Miss Trans Global, winning the crown in 2020. As a trans woman, Mela shared that there’s a constant challenge to combat transphobia as discrimination happens every day. Still, Mela stood up not just for herself but for the whole LGBTQIA+ community to inspire and help them affirm their power. Mela also uses Twitter to educate and meet women allies who help her build a respectful, celebrating, and loving space for the community.

“Twitter has become a platform, for me, in educating Filipinos about LGBTQIA+ identity and championing our rights. It has empowered me to speak up and stand against discrimination. At the same time, engaging with advocates of anti-discrimination on Twitter also helped me learn more about the power of diversity and equality, and deepen the “why” of my advocacy. I’m a firm believer that queens are leaders who can shape mindsets. And having Twitter as a platform, I have discovered that there are open-minded people who are willing to listen and consequently, unlearn traditions that are LGBTQIA+-phobic.”

Filipina romance author Mina Esguerra has observed that gender and genre stereotypes also exist in the literary scene. In the industry, she often sees no romance authors seriously learning the genre as a career. Moreover, many romance writers are women, and she admitted that they are not welcome in most literary spaces. Hence, she founded her own community that welcomes women to write everything, everywhere, and help each other grow.

#RomanceClass is actually our community’s Twitter hashtag — we started using it from the year the class was founded (2013) and continue to use the hashtag now that we have several dozen authors writing with us, releasing new books year after year. It’s how we’re being found by readers from all over the world, and it’s such a lovely surprise to know that people care about us and what we’re writing about. It makes us want to make better books, tell more stories.”

Peaceful Gemini believes that female empowerment means presence, individuality, and sisterhood. She considers Twitter as her safe space, using it as a journal to release her pent-up emotions and other thoughts. When asked about gender equality, Peaceful Gemini gave a profound insight into the reality of gender equality and how to overcome such.

“The reality of this imbalance, masculine and feminine energies in our society, our patriarchal society. But the truth is just that there are systems in place that have existed for many years that hold this standard that genders are not equal. Going deep with this work deals with social issues, household issues, personal beliefs, and conditioning that go down to the root of our family tree in honour of our ancestors. There’s a lot of potential for healing in that space when we learn to connect to our body. Be an embodiment with your authentic truth…My piece of advice came from the easiest meditation that I’ve ever learned: In whatever you do, ask the smile in your heart to find you. Ask the smile in your heart to find you and let yourself smile. notice how your body feels lighter when you allow your heart to smile.”

  • Saab Magalona (@saabmagalona) – Musician, Podcaster, Content Creator

Saab Magalona is a multi-hyphenated woman: a musician, podcaster, content creator, and mom. With the many hats she wears, Saab defines female empowerment as “the reminder to break away from the fear that society has ingrained in women” and that women have always had power that they need to embrace and get comfortable with.

When asked about challenges related to gender stereotypes, Saab shared: “‘Be quiet and just take care of your kids.’ This is a line I have been sent more than once whenever I weigh in on topics other than motherhood. It’s such a stereotype that mothers should just be changing diapers, or cooking for their families when in fact, it’s motherhood that has pushed me into doing so much more.”

  • The Queens (@_thequeensph) – Podcaster, Entrepreneur, Former Beauty Queens

The Queens are Carla Lizardo (@carlalizardo_), Bianca Guidotti (@BGuidotti22), and Pia Wurtzbach (@PiaWurtzbach), and are the epitome of modern Filipina. These ladies are beyond beauties and brains as they are also passionate advocates of women and community empowerment through their podcast and other projects. In particular, Carla is actively attending Twitter Spaces sessions to network, be updated, and be inspired about women-led projects in the NFT space.

Carla: “I’m always on Twitter since I’m very active in the NFT space, and I love supporting women-led projects and artists. I use the platform to stay updated, network, and share information as well. I’ve also met so many amazing women in Twitter Spaces, and hearing their stories always inspires me to do more.”

Bianca (on a life lesson she wants to share with her community on Twitter): “The concept of Ubuntu teaches us that I am because we are. Each unique perspective is an important piece in understanding not only the world around us but who we are as people and as a community. This is why there is so much power in sharing stories and experiences.”

Pia: “To me, female empowerment means paving the way for the women of the future. It means breaking stereotypes and pushing boundaries to make it easier for the next generation to pursue their passions.”

Join the #SheInspiresMe to amplify the voice of women this #IWD2022. Be sure to follow Twitter’s #IWD2022 Lists to connect with women supporting women!

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