#WomensMonth: From Beauty to Brave

In one year, I’ve gone from being a beauty queen who won Miss Earth -Air Philippines 2018 to 2nd Lieutenant in the Philippine Army Command Reserve.

In this blog, I won’t be talking about my journey in detail on how I made the decision (that’s going to be for another entry!) Rather, I’d like to talk about the fact that this step from trading my heels for combat boots has created an effect on many women who came across my posts on Facebook.

I’ve gotten comments like “Nakakainspire! Gusto ko rin!” (“How inspiring! I want to join, too!”) or “Sana ako rin! Sali na ako!” (“Me too! I want to join!”) from many women. I’ve also gotten many encouraging comments from men like “Ang galing! Kahit maganda sumali pa sa Army!” (“That’s great! Even if she’s beautiful she still joined the Army!”) and “Congratulations, Ma’am! Welcome to the Service!”

Admittedly, all these comments are very flattering and it makes me proud to represent the hardworking and brave men and women of the Philippine Army. However, this blog isn’t about feeding my ego, it’s about the realization from reading all these comments and reflecting on Women’s Month.

Happy 123rd National Heroes Day! Allow me to re-introduce myself.2nd Lieutenant Zahra Bianca Saldua of the Philippine…

Posted by Zahra Bianca Saldua on Sunday, 25 August 2019

Why is it that a beautiful woman joining the Army is such a shock? Why is it that many women feel hesitant in joining the Army in the first place? These are the questions that hit me.

Let me just say that there are many beautiful women in the Philippine Army. In fact, there are many beautiful women in all divisions of the Armed Forces (this includes the Navy and the Air Forces) in various countries as well. Most of them may not be beauty queens, but the military field is not short of beautiful women. There are actually some Instagram and Facebook accounts that are dedicated to posting about Women in the Army and how beautiful they look in their uniforms and their civilian attires.

There are so many women in this world who don’t know that they have the power and the capacity to make a difference and to influence others. Not discrediting the injustices that are happening against women. But I am pointing out that we have so many opportunities now than we’ve ever had before. More and more countries and societies are acknowledging and respecting the rights of women and the strength that we have. I’m happy to say that I have yet received a comment from a man on my Facebook post denying that I could join the Army “because I am a woman”. And I’m sure that if a person would post such a comment, then there would be many people who start tapping away against him.

Women are becoming more powerful and more influential every day. So what is stopping us from actually going for what we want?

It is us. The cliche goes…. “your greatest enemy is yourself”. You’re probably wondering “Z? Really? What are you saying?” Well, hear me out.

It’s like that story of that baby elephant who was tied to a pole all her life. That baby elephant has tried time and time again to break free but as she got older, she got older she realizes that it was a moot point. So when the humans would like her to a little chair, she still thinks that she can’t runaway because in her mind- she is still trapped, not realizing that this is her opportunity to leave. Did that make sense?

We have basically been brainwashed all our lives by gender roles and what we can and cannot do as women and when we actually have the power to do what we want, we are held by fear of judgement, traditions and old mindsets.

The good news is, there are so many women who are paving the way and showing others that YES! IT IS POSSIBLE TO DO THIS AND THAT! Women of all ages and all ethnicities who are taking that first step to show young girls and women the power that we have. More good news? SOCIAL MEDIA! So many stories are shared everyday!

I am so glad I am one of those stories. I get messages saying that because I am a beauty queen turned reservist, I was able to help them realize that we, as women, can do anything. This has helped solidify my purpose in joining the Philippine Army.

Ladies! Here is a reminder that you’ve been waiting for! It is time to push ourselves and take charge of our goals and dreams. It is time to STAND UP because no one can push us down!

#WomensMonth #StandUpFeelSeen #WomenInTenSeconds #SheTalksAsia

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