Women, men and power
By Penelope A. Domogo, MD
March is Women’s Month but the spotlight has been snatched from the women by Covid-19, a virus so tiny that you need an electron microscope to see it. So tiny and yet so powerful that it has moved presidents and other leaders to take drastic measures to control it. So powerful that it is taking control of our individual and family lives, especially for those who monitor how the disease is spreading and how people are panic-buying and how places are locking down. It’s not the virus that is spreading to netizens, it is the panic. My daughter, who’s a netizen, was saying we’ll stock on supplies as Manila will be locking down in a few days. But when we inventoried the basic necessities that we will need in the next few months, we found out that we only need rice, beans, camote, squash and some other vegetables and these are available in our neighborhood market. And thank you, dear Lord, Covid-19 does not infect plants so we have assurance that plants will continue to grow and provide us food, even if factories lock down. Think what would happen if Covid-19 destroys all plants and we have no food.
Back to the basic needs in our family. We need oil and salt, too, from the factory but I don’t think these will run out of supply, at least not in the next few months. This knowledge gives us assurance that we’ll be fine despite the lockdown. It gives us assurance because we have a certain degree of control. So we don’t panic. How about sugar and milk and noodles? Fortunately, we have muscovado from Besao and it is sugar-milling time nowadays. If it runs out, no worry. We can live without sugar. Milk and noodles? Not basic and we would be healthier without them.
On the other hand, if your food supplier is the factory that supplies you with canned goods or substances in plastic, bread, cookies, junk food, artificial flavorings, then you will be in trouble. You will panic because you are powerless. You have no control over your food supply and other supplies or material things that are part of your lifestyle. And this brings us to our topic this issue on women, men and power.
I would surmise that you, dear reader, have an idea how Women’s Month (March) and Women’s Day (March 8) came to be as a symbol of women empowerment. It arose from a situation where men had more power than women to the extent that it has led to discrimination and even oppression of women. Many decades have passed since the first Women’s Day celebration and we see how much more power has been accorded women. We also see how women claim that power. So now women have more money or have more control over family money because they can get jobs that pay cash. They can get into high-paying jobs, managerial jobs because there is a law not to discriminate women in hiring of employees.
But why do we want power? Power gives us control on our relationships. We want to control our relationships so our lives will be better and not live in fear. Relationships are not only with people including yourself, it is also with the environment and with things like food and money. Power is usually used “over” somebody or something like money or Covid-19. Money is power. If money controls you then it has power over you but if you control it, then you have power over it. So as a woman or even as a man, if you have money but it controls you then you have no power at all. So manage your money well, be in control, so you will have power. At the moment we don’t have control over Covid-19 but we can control our reaction to the issue. President Duterte uses his power as president to control movement of people and that, hopefully, will control Covid-19. Which means that you don’t necessarily strike the problem directly (which is Covid-19 in this case) to show power, you can just work around how it moves and that can solve the problem.
How about power over our health condition? Do we have control over our health? Or are we surprised when disease manifests itself? Being in control entails that we be knowledgeable of what brings about a healthy condition. Knowledge is power. But in this age of fake news and aggressive advertising (meaning half-truths or even lies), one needs to have discernment, not only knowledge. How discerning are we? This is manifested in our lifestyle. Having control of our health entails that we be in control of ourselves – our thoughts, our emotions, our diet, our attitude, our activities. Are we living in harmony with the universe? Do we recognize the laws of universe that govern us and everything in the universe and live in accordance with these? Or do we live according to the science of man?
Power is double-edged. You can use it for good or use it for bad. History has shown this, in kingdoms past and even in our own government, in our own families and offices. And here the ultimate question lies. Where does your power come from? Whether you are a woman or a man, from where do you get power?***
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12