We spend more time at school studying The Beast from Cape Storms than talking about female authors

Maria Teresa Horta

Natalia Correia

I found myself thinking about how many female poets spoke to me at school: one, Sophia de Mello Breyner. I found myself thinking about how many books I read written by women with mandatory bibliography at school: one, Menina do Mar, again by Sophia de Mello Breyner. Sophia was there very well, but where were the other women writers? We studied all the people of Fernando, the corners of Os LusÃadas in detail. However, we spent more time studying the Monster from the Cape of Storms than talking about women writers. (Indeed, male and female students have been questioning themselves about the teaching of Os LusÃadas as an unreasonable praise for the country, since it glorifies colonialism.)

To what extent can one really have a plural literary vision if only men are studied?

We meet female characters who fall in love with their brother, who throw themselves into the sea, who die of heartbreak, who are mere recipients of letters. Are these the examples we want for our daughters? These perspectives of love and descriptions of femininity told only through the eyes of men? I prefer Joana and the late Marta’s friendship with drugs. Come to the 27th edition of Lua de Joana.

In addition to the vast majority of writers on Portuguese language curricula being male, practically all of them are white. The lack of representation and of realizing the privilege of being white leads to inequalities not only in treatment, but also in thinking about the future: how will a black child who only reads white authors at school feel? Sandra Baldé refers to the consequences of this reality in her chronicle, entitled “May black children love each other a little more in 2023†. The same lack of representation exists for relationships and characters that step outside of heteronormativity.

Does this same masculine tendency prevail in the latest version of NLP?

The truth is that, even though there are already many female authors in the National Reading Plan – fewer than male authors, of course – the works analyzed at school are predominantly male (and not at all captivating).

There is a real difficulty in creating reading habits in children and young people who are increasingly glued to watching videos of trends without any useful information. Not, I guarantee that it is not with a lack of representation that the problem can be solved. We need more attention to books written by women, representation of skin colors, captivating plots, characters and authors, and LGBTQIA+ representation in works and exemplary excerpts from the Portuguese Language curriculum.

Of course it’s important to look at the classics, but we can’t captivate young people when we’re constantly boring them. Just think: how many times have we heard someone say, honestly, “I loved the description of the ‘Os Maias’ tiles? “My favorite writer is LuÃs de Camõesâ€?, or “My idol is Gil Vicente†?

(From my criticism I saved the Memorial do Convento, as Camões saved Os LusÃadas from the water, because Blimunda and Saramago’s sarcasm live fondly in my heart.)

Even in this panorama of still male NLP, I am happy to see an explicitly queer work, Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman, on the list, as well as, by way of example, several works by Virgina Woolf and the Poetic Anthology by Cecília Meireles (poet, not a poet), and even books on gender equality. But let’s not dwell on “it could be worse†, since stagnation is the enemy of evolution.

A note on literature, freedom and prejudice

Within the pro-LGBT literary issue, was recently made public what Mariana Jones— writer of several books, including O Pedro Likes Afonso — has regularly been the victim of threats, for having written a book in which love does not develop just between a boy and a girl, but between two boys. The threats are recurrent, from several people. The writer highlights the cruel and criminal interventions of Djalme dos Santos, a member of the far-right association “Habeas Corpus”. Djalme’s intimidation was not limited to the digital medium – which would be too much in itself – and culminated in a direct questioning at the Lisbon Book Fair, in which the subject filmed the writer close to her face, calling her a “promoter of child homosexuality and pedophilia†.

At that moment, Mariana realized that the hatred was no longer against the book, but against herself, as a person. Given the seriousness of the situation, the writer has victim status and her case was referred to the Public Ministry.

The fact that there is a wrong connotation between homosexuality and pedophilia is just one of the reasons why it is important to have representation of the LGBTQIA+ community in literature. Because any sexual orientation is natural. Pedophilia has nothing to do with love or healthy and natural relationships. Pedophilia is a crime.

To all the fathers and mothers who read me: don’t be afraid fear May your children be gay, but first, fight for a world in which, if this possibility is real, this does not jeopardize the personal safety of your sons and daughters. I repeat, heterosexuality is as natural as homosexuality or bisexuality. Whether you want to believe it or not, whether it seems to you that “being gay is fashionable now†. It’s not a question of fashion, it’s a question of freedom to express our sexual orientation.

Buy books written by women (there is no shortage of quality books), and books about LGBT issues, which deal with them naturally, for your children. Sexual orientation is not something that can be caught, it does not work through contagion. It’s not because they have gay friends that they’re going to be gay, it’s not because they read books with a gay couple that they’re going to be gay. become gays. The representation of a book, or a nearby reality, means that, in the event of being gay, your children feel more embraced, more understood; and that in the event they meet gay people, they are inclusive and empathetic. Literature has a lot of power in the process of broadening people’s horizons and deconstructing prejudices.

This boat goes towards gender equality

We women are here. Our words are shown less, our feelings are too silent. If the doors don’t open for us, we will knock them down and show the world what the Sublime is. The National Reading Plan is taking a slow path, but I want to believe that this ship is heading towards gender equality.

If we used the time spent reading the description of the tiles in the house of Os Maias to get to know more female writers, things would improve a little. And that would be the least of the least with a strong seasoning of sarcasm. Female writers exist and have a lot to say. Female representation in the study of literature cannot be limited to the existence of female characters in stories written by men, or to being the recipient of love letters written by men. Machismo is structural, from real life to the insistence on Epic sonnets in Portuguese classes. And there are more people than Fernando.

Below, I leave a selection of my suggestions for female authors. I highlight the writerHelena Magalhães in the context of this chronicle, since the author and editor is very vocal about the lack of representation of women in the highlights of Literature, having even founded a seal that only publishes female authors, theAurora.

Received a Message: there are women poets

Adília Lopes
Ana LuÃsa Amaral
Eneida Nelly
Florbela Espanca
Gisela Casimiro
Isabel de Sá
MaÃra Zenun
Odete Semedo
Regina Guimarães
Raquel Lima

And many more.

Female Sermon to the Flock

Agustina Bessa-LuÃs
Ana Barbara Pedrosa
Alexandra Lucas Coelho
Buchi Emecheta
Chimanda Ngozi Adichie
Cláudia Lucas Chéu
Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida
Djamila Ribeiro
Helena Magalhães
Lídia Jorge
Maria Archer
Maria Judite de Carvalho
Maria Ondina Braga
Michelle Nkamankeng
Paulina Chiziane
Patrícia Reis
Yaa Gyas

And many more.


Francesco Giganti

Journalist, social media, blogger and pop culture obsessive in newshubpro

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