Photograph in black and white of a newspaper clipping with a picture of Rita Levi-Montalcini, from the newspaper El País.

Beautiful women

After a personal and artistic crisis I decided to recycle myself. As the crisis was a fat one, I needed all the advice that my own and others’ experience could give me. Luckily the method I already had, it’s the same one I use to organise a drawer or a wardrobe: empty, clean, get rid of what I don’t want to put back in, replace what is not useful anymore and add what is needed. 

At first it is easy, then doubts arrive. Can I use this behaviour? Does this idea still suit me? It’s ten years since I last used this theory (I had even forgotten that I had it) but if I get rid of it, what if I need it at some point? Um, I never liked that stereotype, it’s ugly, but it was a gift from society and so I’ll feel bad if I throw it away just like that. I might get dirty looks.

I need new content. I look around for inspiration in other women. I need models. But from the magazines I am only looked at without being seen by supposedly feminine beings who seem to have lost their soul. They don’t have skin, only gaussian blur, nor expression, no matter how much one searches in those hyper focused eyes. There doesn’t seem to be anyone there. They don’t inspire me. I don’t want to be like them. And on TV? Not much either. 

I start to realise that it is complicated. Inspiring women, of which I know there are millions, hide. They don’t appear in the media just like that. One has to look for them. And to look for them you have to know them. 

So I keep the ones I find at least to have proof of their existence and that I am not the only one who thinks that there are inspiring women outside the family and apart from friends and acquaintances.

Rita Levi-Montalcini

I read Rita Levi-Montalicini’s story in Libres. Ciudadanas del mundo (Free. Citizens of the world, my translation), by Carmen Alborch. In Mussolini’s Italy, Levi-Montalcini was thrown out of university and banned from researching. So she set up her laboratory in the kitchen, and when she went to get eggs she asked for them to be fertilized, as she said they were more nutritious for the kids. First she analyzed the growth of the nervous fibers in the embryos and then made omelet. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986.

London, 2010