By Coleen Ramos
When Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas announced Leni Robredo as his running mate for the 2016 Philippine general elections, no one knew how the widow of former DILG secretary Jesse Robredo—who is just at her first term as Congresswoman for the 3rd district of Camarines Sur—will serve as the country’s next vice president. Just like how no one knew, much in the same way, how Daenerys Targaryen—the widow of the great Khal Drogo—will conquer Westeros and claim the Iron Throne without her Khal’s khalasar.
Both didn’t have the trust of many because truth be told, they haven’t done that much at the time they proclaimed their desire to lead their people. Their resolves alone didn’t immediately rally the people to support their cause and promise to lead better than their predecessors. Robredo was against seasoned political giants like Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos. Targaryen is against the whole seven kingdoms of Westeros, all brutal in their actions and methods to claim the most uncomfortable throne seat ever.
Against men of power and dynasties perpetuated by histories of conquest, how can they win?
The answer is not as obvious as to Targaryen’s dragons or Robredo’s administrative support. It’s their persona that shines through, undaunted, strong, and steadfast.
However, why the hate? It’s still unusual for a woman to dominate over men, there’s always a question of skill, of control, of being too emotional. In a report by UNICEF, half the people they surveyed in East Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific agreed or strongly agreed that men make better political leaders than women. Saudi Arabia granted the right of suffrage and to run for office in municipal elections to women just around December of 2015. Countries like Kuwait, Oman, Papua New Guinea, and Yemen have around 0.3% to 2.7% of women in their parliaments while countries like Palau and Qatar have none as of March 2015.
In the West, a recent Pew Research Center report on women and leaderships in 2015 found that 37% of Americans says that the nation is not yet ready to elect female leaders, which could explain why there has never been a female president in the U.S. The United Nations is still striving for its now 20-year old target of gender equality and balance and to look forward to its realization by 2030 (at the latest).
For Daenerys Targaryen, let’s just say that almost all the men she dealt and interacted with, the Dothraki, the slave masters of Astapor, Yunkai, Mereen, Volantis, and practically all the men who knew her in the world of Game of Thrones sees her use better in bed rather than on a throne.
Our society, no matter how liberated and modern it can get is still bounded by traditional and cultural concepts and practices. We can all tweet about how chivalry is dead and post a status about how great being a feminist is but most of the people who do this don’t even know what feminism really is.
Leni Robredo and Daenerys Targaryen endeavor to stand on equal footing with their male contenders. Most will say that people are against them because they’re inexperienced but if we are to be more in depth in our criticism to the two, it can be rooted in the fact that they’re both women. It’s understandable since the Philippines and even the fictional world of Westeros had had a fair share of mishaps, destruction, misfortunes and other detrimental happenings caused by women (kudos to you GMA and Cersei).
The moments when Targaryen rose from the ashes of Khal Drogo’s pyre with three dragons by her side and when Robredo overtook Marcos’s million vote lead were a testament to their power and credibility as individuals and servants of the people.
In her closing statement in the very first vice-presidential debate, Robredo said, “Sa aming anim, may the best woman win.” In the midst of conversing with Missandei, Targaryen’s servant, the words Valar morghulis were uttered. Targaryen answered, “Yes, all men must die. But we are not men.” Both never wished to be walk the path they are taking right now. No one did. But when they rose far higher than anyone else, the people were more than happy to have them.
Photos from Leni Robredo’s Facebook page and the Philippine Daily Inquirer