The Filipino language is peppered with derogatory terms that often pertain only to women. Maarte (dramatic), maldita (bitchy), mataray (contemptuous) often refer to women but matapang (brave) and malakas(strong) are often attributed to men.
Toronto-based clothing line, Pinay Collection, aims to reclaim, celebrate and own the Filipina/x identity. T-shirts, sweaters, bags and accessories are boldly designed with historically sexist and derogatory Tagalog terms like maldita, mataray and maarte– words that have been historically used to shame the Filipina/x.
“I was born and raised in Nueva Ecija, Philippines and came to Canada in 2011 as a young adult,” says Jovie Galit, founder of Pinay Collection. “My immigration journey has moulded the person I've become and the person that I am for my community. Pinay Collection is more than a brand, it’s a community that builds support around our shared pain and histories as Filipina/xs, and to take back words meant to make us feel small and to make it our own.”
Galit, a trained hand-lettering artist, founded the business in 2019. She also founded Pinya Letters, a modern calligraphy business in Toronto. Galit is also a social services professional who leads a team of settlement workers in Toronto, developing and facilitating workshops for Filipino youth and families.
In a company blog, Galit spoke about finding identity as an immigrant arriving in Canada as a young adult. “My mom took four years before she was able to bring us in as permanent residents. And during those four years, there was a lot of pain and a lot of trauma between me and my mom. When I came here, I didn't have the (kind of) critical thinking I have now. I didn't think that ‘oh, you know, this is the fault of the complex immigration system of Canada’. I did not think that this is the fault of the corrupt government in the Philippines. I definitely did not think this is the fault of colonialism. I know (differently) now, but during that time, my anger was all just projected on my mother.”
“This line was always about confronting the words that our titas (aunts) and nanays (moms) used to make us feel millennial Filipinas feel some kind of way as we were growing up,” says Karla Villanueva Danan, a Pinay Collection support. “I love how Pinay Collection has been bringing healing and laughter that many of us Pinay daughters have carried since childhood.”
To purchase items and learn more about Pinay Collection at https://pinaycollection.com.