Reflections: June 2016

I spent the last month interviewing eight women, most of whom had never been interviewed and felt they had little to say. Anyone who reads the narratives of our conversations knows that they were wrong.

After each interview, I listen to the conversations (they’re recorded) and choose a perspective to focus the narrative. I endeavor to respect a limit of 800 words per narrative. What is written reflects not even half of what was said. The fact that something isn’t included doesn’t mean that it wasn’t important. Everything that these women says has had such a deep impact on me that I want to highlight some of my learning to date.

In last interviews I began to ask a new question: how do you live up to (or not) the expectations that society has of women? No woman thought she met societal expectations. No matter what their marital status, how much they weigh, if they wore make up or not, or how much they earn—they didn’t see themselves in the image and/or perpetuated discourse about women. I wonder what kind of society is this where no one feels she is a socially acceptable woman? This may be the reason that a high number of women see themselves as failures in life. Also, most of them faced (or face) hatred, violence, intolerance and/or prejudice, but don’t see themselves as brave. I intend to return to this topic in a future reflection.

When I thought this project, I had the feeling it would be cool. It’s much more powerful than I imagined. David Isay (who created a radio program called Story Corps) says “that sitting and being present with someone, and asking them important questions is something that doesn’t happen that often during the course of day-to-day life, and is one of the most profound and powerful ways we have to tell someone else how much we love them. “*

I feel privileged that these 08 women gave me an hour or two of their lives. I leave some interviews thinking that I have found a friend for life, but in reality, I am aware that it is likely that I won’t see these women again. It doesn’t matter. I hope these interviews will inspire you to ask the important questions and really listen to what the other person says, mainly the women who no one asks or listens to.