To the Young Women of Malolos
Jose Rizal’s legacy to Filipino women is embodied in his famous essay entitled, “To the Young Women of Malolos,” where he addresses all kinds of women – mothers, wives, the unmarried, etc. and expresses everything that he wishes them to keep in mind. Jose Rizal was greatly impressed by the fighting spirit that the young women of Malolos had shown. In his letter, he expresses great joy and satisfaction over the battle they had fought. In this portion of Rizal’s letter, it is obvious that his ultimate desire was for women to be offered the same opportunities as those received by men in terms of education. During those days young girls were not sent to school because of the universal notion that they would soon only be taken as wives and stay at home with the children. Rizal, however, emphasizes on freedom of thought and the right to education, which must be granted to both boys and girls alike. Rizal stipulates a number of important points in this portion of his letter to the young women of Malolos. The central idea here, however, is that whatever a mother shows to her children is what the children will become also. If the mother is always kissing the hand of the friars in submission, then her children will grow up to be sycophants and mindless fools who do nothing but do as they are told, even if the very nature of the task would violate their rights as individuals. Rizal enumerates the qualities Filipino mothers have to possess: Be a noble wife, rear her children in the service of the state – here Rizal gives reference to the women of Sparta who embody this quality, set standards of behavior for men around her. Jose Rizal points out to unmarried women that they should not be easily taken by appearances and looks, because these can be very deceiving. Instead, they should take heed of men’s firmness of character and lofty ideas. Rizal further adds that there are three things that a young woman must look for a man she intends...
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