OPINION | The female drama written in the present continuous

Editor’s note: Wendy Guerra is a Cuban-French writer and contributor to CNN en Español. Her articles have appeared in media around the world, such as El País, The New York Times, the Miami Herald, El Mundo and La Vanguardia. Among her most outstanding literary works are “Ropa interior” (2007), “I was never a first lady” (2008), “Posar desnuda en La Habana” (2010) and “Todos se van” (2014). Her work has been published in 23 languages. The comments expressed in this column belong exclusively to the author. See more at cnne.com/opinion

(CNN Spanish) —

“Since woman is the primary reason for sin, the weapon of the devil, the cause of man’s expulsion from paradise and the destruction of the ancient law, and since all trade with her must therefore be avoided, we defend and We expressly forbid anyone from allowing themselves to introduce a woman, whoever she is, even if she is the most honest in this university.”

Manifest Decree of the University of Bologna, 1377.

It was very difficult for women to leave isolation and degradation behind. It was difficult to win the game against historical prejudices and achieve the right to knowledge through entering the classroom. Centuries of social struggle were needed for it to finally happen. The step was not taken until the 1830s, first in the United States and then in Europe, where the presence of women was admitted in very exclusive schools, not linked to university life, which were entering specialties related to medicine, taking into account account the skills acquired in the care and upbringing of children, the capacity for hygiene and natural therapeutics of housewives.

“Considering that the intention of good and wise nature has been that women, occupied exclusively with domestic needs, should not feel honored to have in their hands a book or a pen, but rather a distaff or spindle […]. That women who pride themselves on knowing how to read and write are not the ones who best know how to love […]. That there is scandal and discord in a home when a woman knows as much or more than her husband […]”.

Bill for the prohibition of teaching women to read, Sylvain Marechal, 1801.

Until then, the illustration allowed to the ladies was through private study plans, with bases rooted in home education, focused on specific topics such as music, sewing, culinary or issues related to fine arts and exercise. skills and abilities applicable at home.

During those centuries of scholastic exclusion, reading was a great school for many, but, above all, the necessary refuge. Not all the readings were “suitable for women. On the other hand, they did allow themselves to think, read, but, above all, write in secret, what was happening under the iceberg, deposit the essence of their thoughts in collections of poems, letters, and the most arrested, anonymously, in newspapers, local magazines or magazines, using the masculine signature of a discreet relative or friend. With courage and rigor, and in the greatest secrecy, the skills and exercise of female intelligence through the written word were developed for centuries.

It is incredible to see the number of texts, which at the time did not see the light of day due to social censorship, and which today are the subject of study in the most prestigious academic institutions in the world.

November is a cardinal month for book fairs, the Guadalajara International Fair (FIL), the Miami International Book Fair and the Montreal International Book Fair, among others, are taking place right now in various languages ​​and countries; For this reason, I want to invite you to read three important novels that revere the complex history of women in all times.

George Sand was the masculine name used by the French author Amantine Dupin, born in Paris in 1804, and who facilitated the publication of her novels. Sand dabbled in many genres, including pieces of political theater that could only be performed in private spaces. The masculine attire he used to wear allowed him to move more freely and access places where women were excluded. Victor Hugo, with whom he had an admiring relationship that is confirmed by his epistolary, commented: “George Sand cannot determine if she is a man or a woman, I have great respect for all my colleagues, but it is not my place to decide if she is my sister or my brother”.

A woman looks at books on display at the Book Fair in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany on October 14, 2015. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL ROLAND (Photo by DANIEL ROLAND / AFP) (Photo credit should read DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images)

A winter in Majorca: On November 8, 1838, George Sand and Federico Chopin arrived in Palma de Mallorca, accompanied by the author’s two sons. With an open and sophisticated language for its time, the novel describes that stage of inbred complexity and violence contained in the daily life of two clashing geniuses. The couple tries the impossible, to reach an agreement, and between impulses and detonations, they fight against their own demons, trying to keep the relationship alive. In a mediocre and conventional social setting, which cruelly judges and punishes them, a Mallorca full of prejudices towards women, which does not forgive their advanced ideas and their extravagant creative life, Sand and Chopin star in a magnificent sensory novel, ahead of its time. and written in autofiction key.

The Divines, Laura Restrepo, Colombia, 1950: Alfaguara Prize of 2004 and one of the most important, expressive, lucid contemporary Latin American writers. Her sincerity is obvious and this is what makes us surrender to each of her chilling stories.

Impeccably spun, it reconstructs, from fiction, the chronicle of a notorious crime, which, in December 2016, shook Colombians. Yuliana Samboní, a 7-year-old indigenous girl, was raped and murdered by the architect Rafael Uribe Noguera. When reading it, we vividly witness the interior passageway of a group of men, around 40 years of age, who, from childhood, adopted the name Tutti Frutti. This “brotherhood”, founded in the heart of Bogota’s upper class, engages in infanticide. The novel narrates the way in which the select group relates in a violent way with their mothers, girlfriends, wives, domestic employees or sex workers. As you read, you settle into a disturbing space, centered on the dark steps that lead directly to femicide.

sweet knife: Ethel Krauze, poet, essayist, PhD in Literature from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and television host on Channel 11, has written a magnificent novel of just 96 pages, which stands out for its depth and veracity when it comes to addressing polyphony. of his characters. The plot not only involves the secret force that drives a rape, but the rapist’s appropriation of language, which tries to function as a mitigation of the act. Krauze impeccably goes through the private life of Magdalena, its protagonist, and involves us in an exhausting process, of infinite sexual abuse, from childhood to adulthood, which could only be sustained over time, protected by the complicity of his own family. .

In my writing workshops I have verified that every woman lives hidden or exposed in her personal diary. Today’s question is a challenge:

Would you dare to write, in the present continuous, a fictional novel, with real situations, that denounce or portray what you dare not say for fear of social repercussions?

OPINION | The female drama written in the present continuous