October 2017, Year IX, n. 10
Write, fight, love. Between Chile and Rome
Telos: A woman who has chosen to talk about women to everyone: “I am a feminist. But I’ve never thought about writing only for women”. What does it mean to be a feminist in today’s world? and which causes do we still have to fight for in a society that considers itself equalitarian?
Marcela Serrano: It’s not a question of choice. All I want to do is write stories, and the only ones that sprung to mind have female protagonists; I knew these stories very well, I had them at my fingertips. Only afterwards I did realise that it wasn’t a random choice, that I was tired of forever reading only about men. But I don’t believe literature has a gender. There’ve always been the “Western Canon”, but there’s never been any talk of gender; no-one would ever dream of saying that the classics were male, they just WERE, full stop. But as soon as we women arrived on the scene we were immediately classified as a sub-genre. Because this is what happens when someone invents a category labelled ‘female literature’. The conceptual ambiguities that male chauvinism can insinuate into a conversation means that being a feminist in today’s world is more important than ever before. We’ve come so far that some people have begun to think that we’ve achieved our goal. Wrong! There’s still so much to do, no doubt about it, there’s still ever so much to do. Of course we’ll continue to lobby for gender equality legislation and we’ll take to the streets whenever we have to. But I believe that today’s goal should be our ‘private life’. If we’re not equal at home, then everything else is useless. Bringing up our children. Taking care of our elders. Violence. Cooking. Laundry... shall I go on? We will not have won until these tasks are performed by both men and women. ...more
‘It doesn’t hurt to try’. Our interview with Marcela Serrano, a Latin American literary legend, is yet more proof of the fact that we can trust proverbs. Usual method: an email with our request, an explanation about who we are and what we do, and then... wait for an answer. Some ignore us, others want to know more, still others say no.
Serrano’s answer was simple and direct, the kind that only the great know how to give: a simple yes. For which we are very grateful. The interview touches on important issues: female literature (what rubbish!); feminism (much has been done, but we mustn’t lower our guard), political alienation (a common problem), and Serrano’s eternal love for Italy and Rome (what joy!). ...more