Photograph of white curtain, plants and paint brushes.

The reason why (feminist story)

I have always thought I was a person, even when small. Of a certain sex, of a certain shape and various colours, from a place or two, and of my circumstances. But always, above all, as a person. 

In my family they also thought I was a person and as my surroundings and the times were not very restrictive, it took me a while to discover that to be a person of the type ‘girl’ had its limitations. External. Even so, I don’t remember having ever wanted to be a boy nor considering that being a girl was an internal obstacle or wrong.

Later, in adolescence, when trying to define myself as a person, I discovered two things about what it implies to be a woman socially. Firstly, that some men, and surprisingly some women, still think that women are incomplete men. That we are moved by the jealousy of this real or symbolic lack and that we are inferior to men. 

The second discovery was that it is not enough to be female to be feminine. That being feminine comes with an instruction manual and requires hard work. Sometimes the instructions are written down somewhere, but most of the time they just emanate. 

Not only that, but if the manual is studied carefully, one discovers that it is full of physical, intellectual and spiritual restrictions: the higher the heel and narrower the dress the more feminine; no original ideas nor thirst for knowledge are allowed (and if they cannot be avoided, it is better to conceal them) and careful with wanting to be free because you are going to be labeled ambitious, selfish or evil. 

And the truth is, even though it disguises itself in ambiguity and displays multiple faces, the instruction is singular: to repress anything that implies personal growth. 

Since not growing as a person, even in adolescence or perhaps precisely in adolescence, was unacceptable to me, I discarded everything from the theatre of femininity that did not amuse me. There was little left.

Life went on, and in the working world, I realised that the merits of women and the merits of men were not measured equally, even if they were the same. Expectations also varied. The old theoretical error of the supposed inferiority of women had not disappeared; it had simply mutated.

And it persists, disguised as novelty, hidden behind appearances, powerful in its invisibility. In school, in the family, at work, and in leisure. Transmitted by the contemporary medium par excellence: visual language.

For me, this is a problem. It’s like living in a social building with structural imbalances, built on pillars of incomplete values, tilted to one side, where half of its tenants cannot fully develop their potential.

London, 2010