Mal (Educadas): María Florencia Freijo: “I came to feminism through the stigma of being the whore”

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Argentine writer María Florencia Freijo.
Argentine writer María Florencia Freijo.Andrea Alegre

María Florencia Freijo (Mar del Plata, Argentina, 1987) has been called a whore many times, also interested, warms cocks, arrogant, intense, hysterical, silly, hollow, blonde: bad. Since she was a child, she grew up with prejudices above her, with an external look that judged her, to reward or punish her. It is the instructing finger that has been on the behavior of women for centuries, trying to cut and fit the pattern of what Freijo calls the “good woman.” With this premise, the political scientist and legislative advisor began working on her second book, Bad (Educated), edited by Planeta, in which he analyzes the education women have received from Ancient Greece to today’s Tik Tok. After listing violence, demands and mandates in almost 300 pages, he sentenced: “I have faced all the archetypes of the bad woman and in the end I decided to attribute it to them. I decided to assume that I am a bad woman, because I have the desire to be a woman with a voice, because I am a feminist, because I am going to make you uncomfortable ”.

To the position in which she is now —author of two books on feminism, mother of a child, columnist, adviser on gender policies, recognized voice in social networks with hundreds of thousands of followers—, where she admits to enjoying being “ the one indicated ”, it has cost him a lot to get there. In a video call with EL PAÍS from his home, Freijo says that he struggled a lot to get rid of nicknames. “I suffered a lot. I probably got to feminism through the stigma of being the whore, ”she says seriously. She searched the movement for answers that she could not find in her adolescent environment: “I did not understand why in my first years of sexual awakening, in that search, I was considered a whore for doing exactly the same thing that men did, for wanting to enjoy sexually outside of monogamy, outside of romantic love ”.

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This appropriation of the archetype —which in Spain, for example, was made by the singer Zahara on her latest album, which she titled Puta– It carries with it a deep retroactive claim to society, to schools, to those who sought to denigrate or allowed it. “Do you know what the danger of the stereotype of the whore is? That nickname invalidates us to denounce the violence we suffer. There are a lot of sexual violence that you cannot report because you have no credibility ”. Freijo launches from this space now safe an urgent reflection: “That nickname only serves the men because they can violate that woman without having any social cost, it is very easy, because they locked her in the silence of not being able to say what is happening.”

After the ropes against her sexual freedom, other corsets followed: the prejudices of her decision to have an abortion, to be a single mother, to go on a work trip, to write with character. Freijo stirred, tried to detach himself and refuse. “Until I realized I was fighting windmills. Nothing I said was going to be able to change the bias with which I am looking previously. So I decided to get rid of the mental burden of having to justify that I am not a bad woman. I no longer want to justify that I am not a bad woman, that I am a good feminist: no, I am a terrible feminist and I am a terrible woman ”. And the bad laughs.

“Tired, sad women, fed up with social mandates”

Freijo has not dealt with Bad (Educated), which follows his previous work Alone, do a history book or do some deep research. It seeks to gather in an accessible volume all the clues that the past gives us to understand our condition today: “Women tired, sad, overwhelmed or fed up with social mandates and demands.” “Social conventions change but they continue to put us in the same traditional roles that we have dragged along since ancient times,” writes Freijo, who considers that the key to “re-signify our history” is to identify everything that educates us, the reasons that engulf women in a huge inequality that is still in force.

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“That feeling of not being enough that women have is part of a millenary education, where from girls we are prepared for the external look, to be fatal WomanTo take good care of the husband, to look good in public, to be pleasant and to smile, we are prepared to have a body type, to sustain, everything has educated us for that, ”says Freijo. “They have taught us that we have to modify ourselves and cut ourselves completely to transform ourselves into that woman who is going to be desired, who is going to be loved.”

Thus, the political scientist begins with quotes from Aristotle – “in the relationship between male and female, by nature, one is superior and the other inferior, one commands and the other obeys” – continues with the harems of the Ottoman Empire, emphasizes the attempt to education in Rome, places cloisters and witches in the Middle Ages, and from there he jumps to hypersexualized advertising, beauty pageants, unpaid care work, with later mentions of Voltaire’s masculine gaze or the isolation that brought the industrial revolution for women.

The book is filled with the author’s own experiences —that she is the third generation of women who take care of their children alone, who suffered the abandonment of a father or the violence of an ex-partner of their mother—, and with quotes from Silvia Federici or Mary Beard. Some are superficially named, but Freijo tries to cover in the essay many of the violence that women experience.

“We go through all the violence: we are born from obstetric violence; later we went out to the streets to suffer the violence of street harassment and fear from childhood, because the way in which we know the world is very unequal, we through fear and they through adventure; the symbolic violence of toys, of schools where they allow abuse and harassment; sexual violence through the culture of rape, women come to our first sexual relationship with the formation of knowing how to arouse a man without knowing how to arouse ourselves; Violence against reproductive freedom, I have an abortion … If I had to choose a violence I could not, because it is continuous. All that is settling: a fight, a pain, a submission. Because ultimately they are all control mechanisms for women to become submissive ”.

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Towards the end of the book, when Freijo has already made it clear that he does not intend to bend or bend any more to the mandates, he offers a clue, a handle: every time women report sexist behavior, violence, raise their voices, they are re-educating, they are chopping a corner of the ancient slab that they carry. Although the writer demands something beyond the usual effort of her colleagues: “We need men, civil society and the State to get involved now to transform the educational system, not all change can fall on feminism.”

Freijo urges, pushes, insists on the emergency in which the women find themselves, and points out the strong resistance they are encountering along the way. “The world is not changing as much as we think, it is not transforming in relation to the urgency of the data that indicates the condition of women throughout the world, it would have to be a scandal for everyone, but it happens that we continue to believe that women’s lives are worth less and then the cost does not seem so serious ”.

Political scientist María Florencia Freijo, author of the book 'Mal (Educadas)'.
Political scientist María Florencia Freijo, author of the book ‘Mal (Educadas)’.Andrea Alegre

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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