A Cuban Fight Against The Demons Of Machismo
14ymedio, Generation Y, Yoani Sanchez, Havana, 1 July 2017 — A man looks
over my shoulder because I talk about cables and circuits. He grimaces
in disgust when he sees my clumsy nails cut short and is annoyed because
I reject his “compliments,” which I should accept with pleasure and
gratitude. He does not say it out loud, but to him I’m just a creature
who should look “pretty,” care for his home and bear his children.
It is an exhausting battle. Every day, every hour, every minute, Cuban
women – and so many women in other parts of the world – have to deal
with this accumulation of nonsense. “You can’t, let your husband do it,”
is one of the more pleasant phrases we hear from them, although I have
found others who insist that “women should only talk when hens piss*,” a
coarse way of saying that we should be seen and not heard.
A journalist asks me in front of the camera how I combine being a mother
with the task of running a newspaper. Although I try to lead the
conversation down a professional path, he insists on referring to my
ovaries. A political policeman mocks me because my hair is
tangled. Probably my texts bother him more, but he feels a special
pleasure in “attacking” my femininity. He is wasting his time.
At the end of the day, I have had to evade a thousand and one attempts
to force me into a mold. That box where we must be silent and
endure; smile and bear it; laugh with grace at the machistas** and act
flattered by their repartee. A twisted mechanism that results in society
losing out on our cores and being left only with our shells.
All these stupid prejudices, which have hardly diminished on this
Island, pave the shortest way to deprive ourselves of the talents that
we possess, not only as women, but – mainly – as human beings.
*This expression derives from the fact that chickens do not urinate (as
we know it).
Source: A Cuban Fight Against The Demons Of Machismo – Translating Cuba