I find it very annoying when someone refers to all women using the singular form “a woman”, a very common use in Spanish.
We say “Woman’s day” instead of “Women’s day”. It’s also very common to hear “Woman is…” when someone is preaching about what women are, or what they’re supposed to be. This last example is usually followed by horrendous compilations of stereotypes.
The problem of using the singular form is that instead of thinking about millions and millions of unique human beings, we end up thinking of one single, specific, ubiquitous woman. We think of an “Ideal Woman”.
And what kind of Ideal Woman have we been taught in this Hell of a world?
A monstrous one.
These images do not represent three different stereotypes, but actually three dimensions of one single stereotype which is carved into everyone’s mind from a young age.
In television, public spaces, social networks, at school, everywhere, infiltrated in our daily conversations and “common sense”, these mental images are constantly and tirelessly reinforced, monopolizing time and space so we can see no other way to be woman
And those other womanhoods which against all odds show up anyway, are ridiculed for going against that stereotypical “common sense”, or else they’re exposed as the “DON’T” example, which ranges from having untidy hair to being seen acting successful and confident.
But the worst part of this “Ideal Woman”, from which all stereotypes proceed, is that she does not exist for herself, but for others. No need to be a genius here to know “others” means almost always “males”.
Or does any of those rules sound like they are meant to make a person free?
I’m tired of people trying to argue against this by saying: “But women choose to do these things!” I have been a child once, and was fascinated by those brilliant, hyper-sexualized Monster Woman images. I’ve been a child, and was thoroughly taught everything I could not do, say, think and feel.
Or maybe it’s a mere coincidence that I find that experience perfectly described in a random image from the Internet twenty years later?
For refusing to adore or attempt to be the Monster Woman, I was called a Monster myself. And believe me, from my loving parents to the last stranger in the street, they were nowhere near subtle.
These images, which seem to be left to people’s freedom when they appear in commercials, turn out to be pretty solid inside people’s minds when it comes to demand that they be obeyed.– How can you dress like that?? – How come you don’t shave and wax?? – What will they think of you if you do this?? – You shouldn’t talk/think/behave like that!!
And then there’s the “ooooh” outcry when I do something or talk about something which goes against “the rules” (What rules? Not mine, for sure!).
Nietzsche has written once:
Be careful when you fight monsters, lest you become a monster yourself.
I failed before, and called myself a monster. But not anymore.
Monster is the Woman they want me to be.
Monster is anyone who wants me to be something other than what I am.
Today I point my finger at them, and denounce them as Monsters because they still haunt me and millions of my sisters, real women, human women.
A Monster is a being without a soul
And I earned mine the day I looked into the mirror and was able to look past the monster, and see the human being in myself.