\"If you want to make a human being a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves.\"
‐ Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize‐winning author
Malakas Femmes is a project promoting the visibility and celebration of the diverse lives of women‐identified Filipinas across Canadian communities. There are estimated to be 800,000 individuals of Filipino descent in Canada, and approximately 100,000 in Alberta. As a women‐identified Filipina, born and raised in Canada, I have always struggled finding role models in society that I felt accurately reflected my own aspirations. Dispersed across the country, there are a handful of Filipinos who have attracted international attention like actress Shay Mitchell, Miss Universe Canada 2013 Riza Santos, and 10‐year‐old singing sensation Maria Aragon. These notable Filipinas have started to create the space for our visibility, but their success fits within the trope that Filipina women are naturally actresses, beauty queens, and singers. Malakas Femmes was born out of a passion for redefining the scope of visibility and representation of Filipina women in Canadian media and culture. Throughout this project, I hope to establish an online space where Filipina women will be able to celebrate their lives and journeys, sharing their success with and inspiring young Filipina girls.
I like to imagine that if a younger version of me had stumbled upon a space like this, she would be able to find a reflection of her dreams and a role model in one of the Filipinas featured on Malakas Femmes. Most of all, I hope that this project will grow into a greater cultural shift where Filipina women are fearless in their pursuits of politics, science, technology, art, dance, medical fields, etc, and as a result, redefine our visibility and representation in Canadian media and culture as the brilliant femme fatales that we all are.
Who Will it Benefit?
Malakas means strong and loud in Tagalog, one of the official languages of the Philippines. Femmes means women in French, known for its iconic use in the phrase femme fatale. We hope that this project will inspire young Filipina girls and women to find the strength to pursue their dreams, from Aerial Acrobatics to Web Engineering, and to loudly affirm their own femme fatale brilliance in their communities.
The Malakas Femmes project will benefit the Filipino community in Alberta, as well as other minorities in Alberta. This project will affect the women in the community of all ages. We will interview and feature Filipina women on the website so that younger Filipinas can find role models in all industries to look up to. This project will also benefit women of other minorities because this website will create the space for minority women to celebrate their successes.