There is one thing that I can say I’ve definitely learned from this experience: Argentina has reenforced my sense of girl power. There are more single women as host mothers in my program than there are whole families, and all of these women are powerhouses! My host mother, for example, is an amazing woman – she has 5 children, 2 of whom still live at home, she maintains the house, is an amazing cook, and on top of that, works with other mothers and children to make sure they are well-taken care of and get equal opportunities every day. This woman is phenomenal!
A lot of things have influenced this recent surge of girl power. The thing that sparked my train of thought on this subject was a documentary I recently watched, Miss Representation. It was floating around my sorority, since we are promoting a Fat Talk Free campaign, and this video fits perfectly. It’s all about the media in the United States and how that negatively effects body image and self-esteem in women of all ages. I learned so much, and I want everyone in the world to see this movie! I’d love this post to be all about the fascinating statistics and information I learned from this movie, but that might get a little long and heavy.
(I promise this blog isn’t all about this movie, but really, it’s an amazing documentary. You can find it floating around online, and at least check out the website, it’ll give you goosebumps! http://missrepresentation.org/)
After seeing this film, it got me thinking about the porteño society. There are plenty of women who are unmarried and without families that do amazing things every day. I always “thought” that we could do whatever we wanted if we really put our minds to it, but after actually seeing it, firsthand, I really do think that. At home, I’m surrounded by successful women, but many of them still a part of the traditional family structure. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a woman being married and having a family and still being successful, but the idea that she needs to be a part of this traditional structure to say that she has a full and complete life strikes me as a little odd.
Working with the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo has also had a strong impact on me, although I think it was a little more subtle. Here you’ve got a large group of women only, working to try and find their disappeared children. They march in the plaza every week, at the same time, for over 30 years! If any group in this country can support your sense of girl power, it’s this group of strong and persistent women.
The final thing this week that has really emphasized my thoughts on this subject is an assignment I had to do. It was about doing an experiment in empathy, and I chose to write about my host mom. As I wrote about how I thought she might think, I realized that we share many thoughts and opinions. This was a wonderful reflection, and it came into my hands at exactly the right time.