Write, women, write!

Translated  by Katrina Hassan

Girls are given dolls so that an early age they learn their place in society. Their place, to give birth and care for children. Children that will eventually become sons, brothers, grandkids, nephews, boyfriends, lovers, companions, husbands.  

Whatever the grade of kinship may be, women’s function in society is to be mothers. Mothers in all the patriarchal context; that being, cease to exist just to serve others.

Boys are given toy guns and cars, so they can take to the streets. They know that wars are made up of the male gender. Can it be? Very rarely are boys given toys that are non patriarchally gendered. Toys that include people and eliminate stereotypes. Toys are even in different sections at the store and color coded for blue for boys and pink for girls. 

Children have a terrible start, from 0 to 5 years old, they absorb everything like sponges. We mark them with devastating patterns that will damage them in infancy until adulthood. Those terrible things that children learn about from age 0 to 5 years are rarely erased from their unconscious mind. 

Worse off are girls; they’ll become adolescents and grown women. All their life they’ll be marked by the gender divide. Patterns of patriarchal, misogynous and macho upbringing in a way or another that look to mutilate them as a gender. 

Women are obligated to hide pain, ire, frustration, depression, losses (which are many) and to hide our dreams under our pillow or in some kitchen container. Many times those feelings will be thrown out into the garbage, to be taken far away, never to be seen again. Life goes on and girls change into adult women. Stigma on the skin and in the memory; gender marked like thorns encrusted in their senses. Violence lived and accumulated like frost, like a cement block on the shoulders, like a noose choking, like giant shackles that do not permit us to walk. 

That is the patriarchy in which we grow up; harassment in every possible form. Violence has great tentacles, just like impunity. We have the millenary responsibility to keep resisting. Not only for us, but for all who were silenced and ground to a pulp. Resist for all of us that fought so we could have a voice.  Included in this group, of course, the transgressive women that threw rocks and locked themselves to doors, went to protests, filled the streets with protest signs, dared to run, skate, scream and carved the way. 

There are also the everyday transgressives. Those that in silence chop vegetables, mend clothing, take care of fevers, chop wood and are forced to open their legs to a rapist partner, or a misogynist boss. The ones who never receive applause or praise. Their names are not saved in feminist history books, but millions of them, in darkness and abandonment, keep resisting. 

Our strength comes from them, we need to nourish ourselves with them. Even though we live in an apparent solitude, we are not islands. We interweave, because we are part of that ivy that revives and grows no matter how much it is cut or dried out. 

I remember the words of Virginia Woolf. A writer who didn’t attend university. She went to a university within herself, yet left the coming generations many great books to read. Could anyone be more transgressive? “Write, Women, write, because for centuries, it has been denied to us!’’  To this I add that we should write, all of us, we should love ourselves, caress ourselves, hug ourselves, forgive ourselves, all on a lonely blank page, requiring no other company than ourselves.

If we cannot write, we can dare to paint, walk, run, exercise, jump, yell, observe, question ourselves, formulate an analysis. It is not necessary to share anything with anyone except ourselves. The answer to everything is not to write, there is no absolute answer.  Writing is not an open door, there are many doors. Each of us will find our own door and our own form of expression. The important part is not to get stuck in a rut because of that enormous tentacled monster called the patriarchy. It wants us to be submissive, immobile, and silent. 

A good exercise to practise would be that instead of giving young girls dolls as presents, give them a diary or a watercolour set instead. From a young age they should be in all their right to express themselves, for there is no precise way to do so. 

I will leave you with Virginia Woolf’s phrase, which is applicable in whatever circumstance we happen to be in in our lives. We should never consider that our job here is done.  The same way as as ivy can grow enormously our gender itself can become the resistance.

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Ilka Oliva Corado @ilkaolivacorado

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