“They seemed faded plants sown and reared in darkness, having flowers without perfume and fruits without the sap”, Jose Rizal said in his letter “To the Young Women of Malolos” that the women were very passive to what the church teaches them but he had been proven wrong when the news of what had happened in Malolos reached him.
In his letter, Rizal praised and honored the twenty brave women of the town for their victorious battle for their just demand to education and their battle to stop slavery to the friars.
He also emphasized the obligations and roles of the Filipino mothers to their children; he compared the Filipino women to the Spartan women as role model. Rizal concluded his letter by encouraging the Filipino women to “Let us, therefore, reflect; let us consider our situation and see how we stand…. May your desire to educate yourself be crowned with success”.
The part which struck me most is where Rizal made mention of a situation to one of the mothers of Sparta, handed the shield to her son who said nothing but to return triumph or return dead.
I find the scenario a bit heartbreaking and ironic when the other Spartan mother was told by a soldier that her three sons had died and replied that she was not asking about her sons but only wants to know whether they won or not. The soldier said they were victorious and the mother just went to the temple to thank God.
Rizal compared the Filipino women and the foreign women, which entails his huge respect to the Filipino women on their vital roles as mothers and wives. Being the foundation of principles and values in ensuring the progress of the nation, a mother should nourish her children with proper values, desired knowledge and shape them to become God-fearing and responsible citizens.
As a wife, a Filipina must support her husband in every problem, inspire him, encourage him, take a part with him all obstacles and dangers, to sympathize and comfort him in bad times, guide him to conquer his fears and struggle to achieve their goals in life. And as a mother, she must educate her children love of honor, love of fellowmen, love of country and love of God.
This is the best writing of Rizal I have read so far. I admire him and respect everything he wrote in his letter. Rizal sets his standards of an “Ideal and Perfect Filipina”, one must have fine demeanor, well-mannered, clean conscience and correct thinking. The message of the letter is clear, it focuses on the most important issues the country is facing during those times, such as the maltreatment and abuse of the friars in exercising their spiritual authority bestowed upon them by the church and the great desire for Filipino women to enjoy the privileges in education with men.
The letter speaks of the duties and obligations of Filipino mothers to the youth, the roles of a wife to her husband and guidance to young women on their choice of their lifetime partner. The letter also speaks of the philosophy of freedom and independence that would be a key for the emancipation of humankind from slavery, and the necessity for education as the fundamental source of liberation, to quote from Rizal, “Men are born equal, naked. God did not create men to be slaves, nor did he embellish them with reason in order to be blinded by others”.