Thursday, February 26, 2009

More Women Talk

Sorry for the slack in writing, I have been swamped with work and haven’t had the time to give my blogging and thoughts about my first world white girl life much attention.

But I’m back and thinking about so many of the women I have met here in Latin America. I’ve met women who are smart, strong, successful and confident. Some are also scared, afraid, and unsure about their role in society because they are women. This is not a condition exclusive to Latin America, but definitely this is definitely a place with masses of mujeres that are afflicted.

When I travelled through Latin America in the winter, I met this one chica in Bolivia that still blows my mind. She had gone to college, she spoke at least three languages and when I told her about my trip wandering around South America, she told me she could never do anything like this. Her reason? Because her dad told her that she could not do anything alone because she is female. And since she had heard it from the time she was little, she believed it.


Another dear friend lives here in Buenos Aires because in her home country in Central America, it would not be acceptable for a woman in her 30’s to live alone, to be unmarried, to have a life that does not include a husband and/or children.

Even here in Buenos Aires, some women move from their parents’ house to their husband’s house without ever having a chance to be on their own. We spoke about it in my Spanish class the other day. Sometimes it is economic, but it is equally cultural, with many parents not understanding why a woman would need to live on her own.

Hell, it existed in North America not too long ago. I recall several years ago having a conversation with my mother, grandmother and a close family friend. They all remarked how they had never lived on their own, going from the house of their parents to the house of their husbands. Even after getting divorced, they had children camped out at home. In fact the only people around the table who had lived alone were my grandmother and I.

She had been recently widowed and I asked her about living alone. She looked at me with the raw grief, sadness and anger that could only come from the loss of the biggest piece of your life that can never be replaced and said to me, “I hate it.”

A few months later, she mentioned our conversation from that day and told me she had changed her mind, “It’s amazing to be able to do whatever you want.”

I’ll leave it at that.

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