Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

We work to take out the macho legacy of the dictionary

We work to take out the macho legacy of the dictionary



The writer Soledad Puértolas (Zaragoza, 1947), member of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) since 2010, recognizes that the dictionary is impregnated with a "macho legacy" and says that they work "very much" to redefine the words and correct that linguistic sexism .

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She is one of the eight women in an institution for which, in its three hundred years of history, only eleven scholars have passed, and none of them has come to preside over it. "We will soon see a woman at the head of the RAE," says Puértolas in an interview with Efe.

Question.- What does the word feminism mean?

Answer.- Feminism is a movement in favor of equal rights for men and women.

Q.- What is your position on inclusive language?

R.- I think that saying a generality about this does not lead anywhere. The language is at our disposal, it is we, the users, who are shaping it. Political and ideological dirigisme would be terrible because it would force us to dispense with our freedom.

Q. - What is not named does not exist?

R. - Language emanates from social uses. To see it the other way around is poverty and narrow-mindedness. We will have to see how each case evolves, because we are not going to make a law before things evolve. Some words will unfold and others will not. You have to be very flexible, we can not impose.

Q. - Is working within the RAE to eliminate the chauvinistic definitions of some definitions?

R.- Very much. The task of the Academy is to review not only the machista inheritance, which exists, but also others, such as the religious and Catholic morality of which the dictionary is very impregnated. Today we do not accept these strict ideologies; we are more relativists; we respect other religions ... The task that involves the redefinition of a group of words is enormous.

Q. - The weaker sex is the group of women as the RAE says?

R. - The weaker sex today is used as an almost humorous thing. It should be added in the definition that is used in a pejorative and, sometimes, humorous tone. But I, as much I claim the weakness as something fundamental, would not define it as a lack, but as a state of opposition to force. That is, weakness does not have to be a pejorative category. For example, the word empowerment horrifies me. Is that I do not want to be able, I want to be respected and valued in conditions of equality. I associate power with superiority and I do not want to be superior. I want to be considered with equality and with respect.

Q.- Do you consider it appropriate to adapt the Constitution to an inclusive language?

R.- I do not know how that was. The report commissioned by the Government has not been discussed in plenary, because there have been many changes in the academy.

Q.- Has the language changed in these forty years of democracy?

R. - Of course, it would be terrible if he had not changed; change every day. Maybe there are things that can be modified in the Constitution. I have not studied it to make an analysis, but there is no reason to be reluctant to change; Changes are part of life. They do not shock me.

Q.- Of the 46 academics, only eight are women. Why is there so little female presence in the RAE?

A.- Equality is necessary in all institutions, and it would be good if the academics were equal in number. This is an institution that has been dragging a lack of female presence, because it was born without them, and it has cost a lot. But it is not only in the RAE, women are missing on the boards of directors everywhere.

Q.- Do you believe in the quota policy to reach a total parity?

R. - In this particular case of literature and language, no. Maybe in other professions, yes, it would have to be studied case by case. I am not of generalizations, I think it is a mistake, because it leads us to a very schematic society. Two people equally valid for a position will never find them.

Q.- Will it take us to see a woman in charge of the RAE?

R.- No, we will not be late.

Q.- Have you encountered obstacles or glass ceilings in your professional career?

R.- I have never considered my life as a career. I am aware that I am a woman, and of course I have had obstacles, but literature is not a glass ceiling for me, it is something I do because I want to. I have not made a professional career of my life, it is not my approach. What I ask is respect and appreciation, and sometimes I have it and other times, no.

Q. - Your latest novel, 'Music in the Opera', stars three women of different generations, how has the role of women in society changed?

R.- I have noticed the evolution of women in society by writing my latest novel. I was amazed because without wanting to make a novel of female development, I have been finding that History is pushing you towards equality.

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