Florence thomas

"There were twenty-two stories of women"

"In the theater of memory, women are light shadows ..." Georges Duby and Michelle Perrot

There were twenty-two stories of women: twenty-two stories that traverse time and space; twenty-two emblematic stories that were chosen among many others. Stories that travel the world and cross the centuries and that give us the certainty that women were always somehow present in the world, sometimes quiet, other times hidden, often controlled, almost always submissive to patriarchal cultures that they sought the way to silence them and send them to the backyard. Probably so as not to have to face that cosmic power that they have to give their lives, and that they cannot assume. And not only to give life but to take care of it, to make it flow at any cost and finally to be able to overcome the disorder, chaos and desolation generated by the thousands of wars of men.

There was a woman, a splendidly illustrated book with twenty-two mammushkas, one for each story. A book that shows us that there are thousands of ways to write a story of women, of the women of the world, a story that reminds us of their fantastic sovereignty - traditionally destined for the loneliness of maternal reproduction - when they dare to face a world hostile and never intended for them, when they decide to speak, push the door of their castles to escape from the shadow of the domestic, use the strange magic of their smelly skin, make the impossible possible or revive a memory that cannot be lost , sometimes inventing potions that upset men, but always to remind us that this world is mixed, it is plural and that humanity without them would have been inexorably shipwrecked.

Today, and after centuries of silence, there are multiple stories of women. However, that long silence indicates that the question of whether there was anything interesting about her story was meaningless and not even raised. Also, what could be known about women and who was interested in listening to them when they said they had something to say? Let us remember that women, with some exceptions, which are precisely those that are included in Once upon a woman, had neither body nor word. Georges Duby had already told us, that great historian who tried to find some of them in the days of the cathedrals, when he warned us that we had to resign ourselves, because the only thing we could grasp of the feminine for a long time was only through the look of men. However, as some of them managed to gain access to knowledge, the most cultured dared to write, at times risking their lives, since indeed "women who write are also dangerous", as the title of a beautiful book reminds us. discover the life of wise women, educated and writers, throughout many centuries; women often unknown to the general public and even gagged in most manuals or compendia of world literature.

In this sense, Once Upon a Woman has the particularity of presenting us the story of twenty-two women, from the four corners of the world, who reaffirm with courage and unusual strength and wisdom, a love of life that touches madness; perhaps what we call today an ethic of caring for life. There, we find the transgressors of the edicts and mandates of a patriarchal culture in relation to the duty of women; we find the eternal victims of the thousands of wars generated by the devastating madness of men; mothers and grandmothers who cannot lose hope of embracing their missing children or grandchildren again; the brave revolutionaries of many revolutions; those who did not hesitate to demand bread and roses to obtain better working conditions in the factories; others, wiser than the wise, who knew the mysteries of the universe and its stars; the witches who by usurping a power that did not belong to them ended up at the stake and, in short, from our first Australopithecus sister, Lucy, the whole text is a tribute to women, to all women who believed in a better possible world for all and all. For a reason the earth is often named as mother earth and can only be feminine.

Hopefully this book will become a school text for high school, a text that allows more and more research on the issue of women's participation; a participation difficult to discern or to understand if one only stays in her words. Perhaps in their silences and in what they could not say, is the key.

Florence thomas
Bogotá, February 2015


Taken from the book Once upon a woman, written by Vera Carvajal, with a foreword by Florence Thomas


Do you want to know more stories like this?

The book Once upon a woman from the author Vera Carvajal, proposes a journey through different times and geographies of humanity in the hands of intense, powerful, entirely beautiful women, capable of turning pain into hope; to tame the bloody with the word; to resist and transform; to ask and answer; to raise life in love; to change paradigms of being, of knowing, of loving, of doing.

Did you like the Florence Thomas foreword?

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