The central position of women’s bodies very often appears as the fulcrum of the construction processes of female identity, thereby becoming a sort of device for construction of the boundaries of gender and power.
A woman’s body, as we were told, is very often the subject of unwanted attention, a symptom of a sexist vision of the relations between genders, and when insistence becomes too unbearable, a body becomes a heavy burden to carry, so it needs to be disguised:
I always say, in the last 10 years I have put on 30 kilos, so before I was a little bit cuter, I always say to my husband, “I am very heavy to carry around but at least I’ve managed to get rid of them”.
I stuff myself into … I always wear these big tracksuits, to be comfortable because at work you need to be comfortable, if not, you can’t bend over, maybe spend a long time crouched; but then for another reason um… that not everyone has understood, indeed for the young I think nobody: I don’t want, when I’m working, to have sexual components at play.
The body as the subject of unwanted attention. The body as proof of female inferiority:
Then a thing that’s been bugging me for 10 years is when I got angry at meetings, someone would say to me, “Is it that time of the month?” “Have you got the curse?” Yet sometimes it came out as, “Is it your menstrual cycle?” “No, you have really pissed me off, which is another matter!”.
There were these two assistants who were bastards and stood in for the professor and they were always teasing me, “Be careful, don’t point your boobs too much” …so as to cosy up to me but… have we ever eaten together?! That is shut up about my boobs; talk to you mum about them, to your sister, your girlfriend!! With me keep your mouth shut!!
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