By Mónica Baró Sánchez*
Translated and edited by Walter Lippmann for CubaNews
No, you can’t exercise in peace on the Fifth Avenue promenade or in similar spaces without at least five men, if you’re lucky, bothering you, saying sloppy things and looking at you like a bloodhound with their tongues out. With the faces of morons.
If you stretch out because your leg and if you do sit-ups because your buttocks. They remember young boys leaving priest’s school after months of not seeing a woman.
Sometimes I feel like taking off a tennis shoe and hitting them on the head to see if I can kill them with some obsolete neurons until they start to behave like the men they should be. Or to go out one afternoon and start messing with them in the same way so that they feel how unbearable they are. Let’s see if they stop seeing and treating women as something to have sex with and discover that we are people, that we feel, that we think and, above all, that we have dignity.
I don’t want to be looked at like that anymore. That doesn’t raise my self-esteem. Being looked at as one thing humiliates me, assaults me. I don’t exercise for men, I don’t wear a short dress for men, I don’t paint my lips for men, I don’t dance and I don’t shake my butt for men, I don’t smile for men.
I do everything for myself and for myself. And I’m pretty hard to please. When I’m alone I keep doing all that. Because I like to like myself and when I stop liking myself I try to like myself again. Me to me. Not to anyone. I like that I like my body when I dance, my lips when I paint them, my hair when I let go, my thighs and my belly when I dress myself short and even my ligaments when I stretch.
Women deserve to be treated like women, not like orifices. No matter what we do or how we dress. I’m sure there’s not a single man who finishes his workout and needs to publish something like this. Peace for me today is that if a man is going to look at me he must look me in the eye. And be quiet. Because almost always, I say to the defenders of “compliments”, not to say that always, when a man says something to you on the street is not because he wants to get to know you and know your human values, but because he wants to humiliate you. So, peace.
Originally posted on myFacebook wall.
Finalist of the Gabriel García Márquez Prize for Journalism in the Text category in 2016.