By Natalia Farias (META Uruguay)
In such special days where women seem to be protagonists and we are fighting more strongly against gender inequalities, I decide to write these lines, which have to do with my own history and with feminism. My story as a “girl, a young woman, a lady” (the title of a poem once written to me).
This is part of my story, and I want to share it because what is personal is also political, as I learned through feminism.
My childhood and teen years
I was a happy, mischievous girl who fought with my little sister. I was always very questioning too. Once, when I was eight years old, I argued with my father saying, «that actually, everything natural was artificial because it was created… by nature». As I grew up, I looked for causes on the basis of what was happening around me, spontaneously, like I was almost playing.
As a teenager, I was also very happy. I was one other girl amongst my peers. I remember dating, dancing, going to movies, theaters, lots of laughter, and also tears.
To be seen «as a woman»!
When I turned 16 or 17 something happened that I had not experienced before: the fear of not being perceived as a woman. The terror of being left alone when my friends had a boyfriend or became pregnant. I imagined myself single all my life, without being able to feel fulfilled, and without having access to experience a free sexuality.
At times, in anguish, I thought that I could not be attractive to someone. At other times I was excited by a partner or friend who looked at me «in a special way».
At that time I was conditioned to have to correspond to a «model” of a “perfect” woman like there was only one type of sexuality. The anguish was very strong.
Breaking barriers – personal and imposed
I started college, a time of new challenges, opportunities, and discoveries. I stopped thinking about who wasn’t looking at me and who was. I focused on my career, accepting myself and working as a psychologist, breaking also with some prejudices (own and others).
At that time I met my partner, my companion in life. I graduated, and through dancing I began to practice my profession. Also to know more people, to build confidence on been in other spaces, trying to make of my story… just one more story.
Activist and feminist
Being just «one more» was impossible for me. I started to have exchanges, meetings and experiences with other young people with disabilities, and I became the activist I am today. I met women from all over the world (with and without disabilities) who led me to feminism without thinking.
I was also influenced by some male colleagues, my family, and the multiple experiences that led me to believe in the need to make visible the inequality of rights and opportunities for women, particularly women with disabilities.
Violence against women with disabilities is a daily fact everywhere. The constant infantilization, the social belief that we are a-sexual, not capable of being mothers, nor attractive, determine us daily. Violence is not only what is seen as such, but also what is often naturalized and we ourselves let it go and go.
The intersectionality between woman and disability exists to think and reflect on the multiple barriers we face every day, but it does not define us.
Each one of us is who she is, with her disability, with her history, with her fears, challenges, bets, experiences, changes, magic and terrible moments. Let’s not just talk about what we still cannot and must achieve.
Let’s talk about what we can, about our conquests and small revolutions. This also implies we challenge inequality. Our voice must be considered, heard, and accepted from the possibility, and not just hidden behind elegant speeches.