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That Naughty Girl!

By Lulú Reboyoso

“Hey muchacha, go and serve your brother some hot food.”

“Why me? He can do it himself.”

“Look at you asking why! Why? Because you’re a girl.”

“No, tía. He has his hands. He can do it.”

“Listen, you little naughty girl, muchacha malcriada! Men are not made for the kitchen. Women are. This is our role. So go on. Instead of climbing trees and playing marbles or baseball, go and help your mom with the chores.”

“No, tía. Why don’t you tell my brother to go do that? We’re all the same.”

“What did I just say to you, naughty girl. A good woman knows how to cook, clean, sweep and sew. Sit down with her legs crossed and not speak. But you, you have bad manners!”

Well, this bad-mannered girl never listened to the advice of her tía. Not only did she refuse to do work based solely on her gender; she resisted the paternal authority of her father, talking back, defying a patriarchal family system, and this bad-mannered naughty girl got her share of slaps for it.

When I was older and I thought of my aunt and all the recommendations she gave me on how to be a good woman, I wondered—why? She had been a woman ahead of her time. She had challenged the establishment, defied patriarchal authority, defended herself against abuse, left her groom at the altar because she did not feel like marrying. She raised her child as a single mom. She was judged harshly, deemed a worthless woman, a bad woman because she lived her life as she wanted to live it, because she did not follow what was established.

Maybe she thought paving a new path, questioning, doing what she wanted to do was too hard, too lonely. Maybe she didn’t want me to be judged, singled-out, excluded for thinking for myself. But the seeds of being a Malcriada, a misbehaving, rebellious woman, had already been planted. And in these times, I am not alone. We Malcriadas are multiplying…