[eng] Gabriela Paz Morales Urrutia - Woman, do what you want to do

I do not wish them [women] to have power over men;
but over themselves
Mary Wollstonecraft

In an interview, on the occasion of the 8M [8 March, International Women's Rights Day], they asked me what, I thought, was the role of us in the future of feminism. "Women should be whatever they want" – I answered – in a not well elaborated manner. A lousy answer at first glance, I did not articulate it from the theory, nor the reference, quotation, intersectionality, nor did I take charge of the glass ceiling, the gap, the breadth of gender, class or ethnic disparity, the distribution of care, violence, sexuality, culture of affections, etc. I didn’t think the endless approaches. I answered from the total tedium of that eternal perception of women’s duty, it seems we always have duties, as if we do not have the right to build ourselves from another place than responsibility. 

I would dare say, it is that permanent feminine duty that is responsible for our conversations being filled with phrases like: “maybe I deserve it", "it is my fault", “maybe is something I did not do", “maybe it was something that I did" …and as a friend of mine said to me in a random conversation: Until when? ¡Enough! ¡We are not religious…! And yes, at least I am not. So in that case, I have to exorcise the remnants of the nuns’ school I NEVER WENT TO. It seems it was not necessary to be educated and indoctrinated to distill guilt, it is provided to us by the holy spirit from the air.  

Thinking about this inhabiting and constructing oneself as a woman from the point of view of duty, I remembered my greatest feminist referent, which is none of the ones you would think, she is nothing more and nothing less than my grandmother. She, in contrast with all the rest who took care of my education, was the only one who gave me one instruction, which was the most important, and until recently, I had not given the real value "FIGHT FOR YOUR HAPPINESS". The fact is, women spend time fighting for other things. Feminism is a way of living individually and fighting collectively. Simone de Beauvoir.

In fact, in retrospect, my grandmother was the only woman close to me, that I saw as a child, who made that slogan her truth. She was married until her 30’s and while she was married she used her first name, Sonia. When she divorced, with two daughters, she started using her middle name, Gladys. She did not like it, but it was the one she chose for her and for the whole life she had ahead. There is something freeing in seeing yourself in a new context. People have no preconceived notion of who you are, and there is relief in knowing that you can re-create yourself. Carrie Brownstein, North American writer. 

At that time, my grandmother supported herself financially making swimwear for a fancy store, but she was very clear that this was not the life she wanted for Gladys. So, with 30 years and two daughters under her care, she applied to the University of Chile for a nursing degree, where she was admitted. In this way she studied the career she wanted, then worked where she wanted, she specialized in cardiologic nursing and she was nurse chief at the most important hospital in her city. Later, she was offered a job abroad, which she did not accept, but she traveled wherever she wanted, she knew a lot of countries, she built herself a house on the beach like she wanted to and one day, she set out alone to travel the entire Carretera Austral [Southern Way, Patagonia, Chile], sleeping on the road, like a disciple of Jack Kerouac. She invited me to the United States and taught me to enjoy the turbulences on airplanes “the funniest moment of the trip” she said, then she invited me to a pre- Inca ruins in Bolivia, through a mountain of clay, in the middle of a storm, with a half-drunk driver “how fun, if your parents knew" – She told me. 

I never knew her any lovers, although after her death I found out that she had several. I always saw her as a successful professional woman, courageous, perhaps lonely, but who loved her solitude and leisure, she painted, made some very strange artistic things, listened to classical music, took care of her plants singing out of tone, loved her animals, had her custom-made clothes designed by herself with a dressmaker, she always took care of herself, she cooked eccentric recipes she brought from her trips, and when I stayed at her house we used to go out cycling. She never let me call her “grandmother" because that word, made women obsolete, according to her. 

Today, being a feminist, educating myself daily in it, still not knowing what it really is to be one, I think, feel and believe, that the role of women in what comes ahead in relation to feminism is, that all Sonias achieve to be Gladys, the woman who was happy being what she wanted to be.

* Gabriela Paz Morales Urrutia
[Journalist, feminist and poet]. Journalist with a degree in Social Communication from Universidad Diego Portales. Collaborates with Diario de cine y literatura, Cactus cultural, columnist for the newspaper Sueco Bulletin. Poetry publications: "El silencio de los intervalos" 2016, "Fieras" 2018, with Signo Editorial and "Pilucha" 2020 and "La Geométrica danza de las asimetrías" by BAP, 2021.

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