A Woman’s Place

Irina Pino

Foto: Byron Motley

HAVANA TIMES — Sexual object, sex slave, Barbie. For decades, women didn’t have the right to vote. Very few women have been the president of a country. She was reduced to giving birth without being able to stop it, constrained to the home almost by decree.

On the other hand, the scientific, educated woman has had to take a sip from the cup of men’s venom and prove her worth so as to impose herself in front of men’s supreme power.

Disrespected for being an artist, she has had to use a masculine pseudonym in literature. Certain machista literary critics isolate and categorize women who write within the wrongly named “women’s writing”. There is only one literature. Virginia Woolf expressed this in her extraordinary essay A room of One’s own, where she reshapes her vision of women within literature.

Over time, patriarchal rules have been imposed on her, subjecting what they do and how they do it to their judgement.

All cabaret dancers are whores, actresses are whores, singers are whores, women when they are different are whores, women are whores by nature… or a lesbian, if they are too strong, men say…

The reponsibility of looking after sick people at home and in hospitals falls upon them, until these have no strength left and women close the deceased’s eyes when the time comes. Older women look after their aged parents, sometimes without any help.

They raise their children, grandchildren, whole generations pass through their hands.

Many women keep quiet when all they want to do is shout insults at the husband they have to share a home with because there isn’t another. Bending over in the face of man’s pressing desires, even though she doesn’t want any physical contact. They find out that their husband has children with another woman and they have to deal with it…

Photo: Byon Motley

When a woman abandons a child and a home she’s worse than the devil himself; she’s stigmatized as the “unnatural mother”… however, men do this all the time and they aren’t criticized like they deserve to be.

Women have to put up with men saying obscene remarks and have to take care with some shameless people who try to touch their behinds; listening to harassers and their sexual propositions…

Every day, the number of women being killed at the hands of men is increasing all over the world.

Why are women the ones to be raped, the ones who are mutilated in many cultures, which include Arab culture with its countless atrocities against women?

Years may have gone by, but all kinds of things need to be dismantled still so that once and for all women can be considered a social subject with their own light.

3 thoughts on “A Woman’s Place

  • Irina, I enjoy your writing. But in this piece you have only shown one side of a complicated story in a rather hostile manner. This is more propaganda rather than objective and fair journalism. You forget men also were not able to vote until about 1874 – prior it was only property owners – and many men died in the battle to vote. In fact it was men who created the movement so women could also vote – so they could collectively over power the wealthy property owners – yet women take the credit for it and no woman died their protests. You also forget the hostile culture where men were forced to go to war. When the Titanic sunk, men were forced to allow women and children on the life rafts first – that is why 1357 men died as opposed to 110 women. That is a reflection of the real culture that men are forced to endure. Far more innocent men are murdered than women – there is not even a close comparison. Now women in western feminist countries have so much rights and freedom and you see the social turmoil and family unit break down — where women initiate divorce at a much higher rate than men. You see how women have become masculine and men have become feminine — and the culture as a whole is in turmoil and society is breaking down rather fast. So it is a complicated story and there are no easy answers. You need to shed light on both sides rather than being one sided.

  • Just as in the U.S., one must believe the woman’s experience as the truth. It takes courage to speak about oppression, and silence is what is expected.
    Yes Bob, she may not ‘take this kind of shit’ but in saying that alone, you must see that she is experiencing ‘that’.
    I wish men in the U.S. would see and hear, not judge. I do not think this issue is ever going away unless men are part of the conversation.
    I enjoyed the article and writing Irina Pino.

  • This is a continuing open issue in my mind as I just do not see such gender discrimination as Irina described in Cuba today. Yet realize, being male I do not walk in a female’s shoes. I have previously asked my Cuban significant other about this. Her response was simply “You know me, I just do not take that kind of shit from anyone”. Among her family and friends, I see that same attitude.

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