My personal story
R: The story about my famiIy. (...) I experienced that some things are unfair because what they wanted to teach me, they did not want to teach my brother. What do I mean? With regard to housework for example, which to me it ought to be shared, because we are both enjoying from the things of the family. And so I considered that the work has to be between two. But for my parents, they... For me, they have very semitic ideas, like that the cleaning of the house has to be done by the woman. And there was a time... For example, when my mother used to tell me "I won’t feed you if you don’t help me". And I used to retaliate. I used to tell her then "my brother won’t eat either because he is not helping you". For me, that’s stupid that the woman has to be a sort of slave of the house. For me, it’s important that if the woman is intelligent, let her go. You understand? If she’s not intelligent, teach her other things, but give her support. It’s not fair you only support the male so that he can achieve what he likes and the woman no, because it is important that she stays at home. You understand?
I: How old were you when this happened?
R: Practically every year that I remember. I have always been revolutionary. I’m not that kind of person...
I: You mean for a long time she forced you to learn to clean the house and your brother not?
R: Yes, yes, even in other things I used to see that. (...) At the head of the table sat my father, facing him my brother. For me, that’s not fair because I’m the oldest. So I’m the oldest to face the problems, but not for other things, you understand, which is unfair. I feel that certain things should be equal, if anything, because my brother is capable in some areas, but I am capable in others. You understand? Not that I have limitations. I don’t blame them, you know, because probably that’s how they were brought up and they didn’t know otherwise. I don’t blame them. But as for me, to go back to domestic issues, it is so important that this is not something for the woman only. It’s for both. Because today, independence... When you grow up... (...) Everyone leaves home and goes to live on his own. Or they get married and they separate, and it’s useful if they know certain things because otherwise (...) they are at a loss... And also... For example, I remember when my mother went abroad to visit her sisters and brothers - because they don’t live in Malta. When she went abroad, she placed a lot of responsibilities on my hands: to take care of my father, to cook, to clean. (...) She did not divide the responsibilities. (...) It could also be the case that I show that I am a responsible person. I take responsibility seriously and my brother his character is like a duck water over a duck’s back.
I: Maybe it’s because he got used to it like that, they brought him up like that?
R: They brought him up like that. They brought him up like that. Because even if you take dinner time, for example, he does not even remove his chair or his plate. He just sits there because they brought him up like that. He doesn’t know otherwise. And now he takes advantage of it. In fact even when he visits my mother he still behaves in the same way. He’s not going to change. Given that my mother is happy to serve him, he’s not going to change, you understand.
I: Did this happen in other things apart from housework, for instance in education or schooling?
R: In the area of education, it was like that at the beginning. But then, how shall I say, I showed that I wanted to advance. My brother, for instance, did not want to continue his education. Obviously, in a way I was lucky that my mother had wanted an education and it was refused her. (...) She wanted to continue schooling and it was refused her, because she was the oldest of the children in the family and she had to care for her younger siblings.
I: So at least she did not repeat the same mistake with you.
R: She did not repeat the same mistake because she realised what she had missed. But for instance in other matters like leisure, going out, my brother had every right to go wherever he wanted to without her ever asking him where he was going and he could return home any time he liked, but me no. So I kind of felt when it came to going out...
I: ... limited.
R: ... limited. Very limited really. (...) Even, for example, in these days at Easter even to go to the Good Friday procession.
I: And what age were you?
R: I was twenty, twenty-one years old. Yes, kind of... For them, the woman, kind of is in danger. But today we know that everyone can be in danger, even a man. Danger can befall anyone. (...) And you want to keep me domestic and it’s not right because then I won’t grow intellectually. I won’t develop as a person, I can’t. I’m sort of... I have a right to go out into the world like my brother did. (...) And it could also have been the case, as they mentioned it to me, that they always perceived me as an adventurous person. I always wanted to go abroad, always wanting to work abroad, my friends were always foreigners, so that I could grow up as much as possible. They showed me that also the way I talk it’s not like in Maltese culture. My mentality is different of how I look at things.
I: And so they were frightened and restrained you.
R: Exactly, exactly. I made the mistake of putting a rope around my neck.
I: So when you were still at school, had they already...
R: Yes yes. (...) My brother, because he’s a man, they put their mind at rest that nothing wrong could happen to him. But then they were terrified when the same things happened to him as happened to me. (...) I separated, he separated. I mean, they sort of realised that the same things can happen to both. Maybe they were overprotective. In my case, too much, because I’m a female - and then I sort of needed protection.
I: The fact that you were the eldest.
I: So they gave you big responsibilities and the fact that you were a female...
I: So they tied you down to domestic work...
I: ... to the point that you felt suffocated, right?
R: Greatly. Like when you have a dog on a leash.
I: Until when did you continue to feel like that? Until you got married for instance?
R: Yes, and it could be that that’s why I got married: to run away from the housework, it could be.
I: From the housework as such?
R: From the housework and many other things. I felt that in other ways, I did not have the same rights as my brother, so through marriage I was kind of obtaining my liberty. I can look at it that way
I: That you unleash.
R: Get rid of the leash. (...)
I: Tixtieq tibda bl-istorja tad-dar mela?
R: Iva l-istorja tad-dar I mean bhal speci ghandi kull rispett xorta lejn il-genituri tieghi sewwa imma kont nara li certi affarijiet huma unfair ghax dak li riedu jghallmu lili ma ridux jghallmuh lil hija. F'liema sens? Bhala tindif tad-dar naghtu kas li kienet ghalija hija ghandha tkun maqsuma bejn tnejn ghax it-tnejn qed ingawdu mill-affarijiet ta' bhala familja li allura hassejt li x-xoghol speci jrid ikun bejn tnejn imma ghall-genituri tieghi li qishom ghalija ghandhom ideat semitici hafna pjuttost li certu it-tindif tad-dar irid ikun mill-mara. U kien hemm zmien li naghtu kas ommi kienet tghidli ma ntikx tiekol jekk ma tghinix. U jiena kont nirritalja. Kont nghidilha laqqas hija mhu ha jiekol ghax mhux qed jghinek. Ghalija hija stupidacni li l-mara qisha trid tkun skjava fid-dar. Jiena importanti, il-mara jekk ghandha l-intelligenza, halliha timrah fhimt? Jekk m'ghandhiex ghallimha affarijiet ohra, imma aghtiha s-support. Mhux taghti lir-ragel biss is-sapport biex jilhaq fejn irid u mara le, iktar importanti biex tkun dejjem domestika. Fhimt?
I: Ta' liema etá partikolari din?
R: Prattikament f'kull sena niftakar illi jiena dejjem jien rivoluzzjonarja ma tantx jiena bniedma
I: Jigiefieri ghal tul ta' zmien ghamlet li tridek titghallem tnaddaf u huk le
R: Iva, iva. Anke bhal speci affarijiet ohra fejn naf jien anke li kont nara li (...) fir-ras tal-mejda joqghod missieri, in-naha l-ohra hija. Ghalija mhux fair ghax jien il-kbira. Allura l-kbira jien ghall-problemi, imbaghad ghal affarijiet ohra le. Fhimt? Which is unfair jiena nhoss li certi affarijiet ghandhom ikunu equal se mai because jista' jaghti l-kas hija kapaci f'hafna affarijiet, imma jien ghandi l-kapacitajiet tieghi f'affarijiet ohra. Fhimt? Mhux ghax jiena mara limitata. Ma ntihomx tort ta ghax probabbli huma hekk imghallmin, allura ma kinux jafu mod iehor kif bhal speci jrabbu. Ma ntihomx tort. Pero, jien nghid ghalija, ha nergghu mmorru lura fuq l-affarijiet domestici, kemm hu importanti li mhux xi haga biss tal-mara, hija xi haga tat-tnejn ghax illum l-indipendenza meta jikbru (...) kulhadd qieghed johrog u jfittex dar ghalih, jew inkella jizzewweg u jigi separat u mn Alla jkunu jafu certi affarijiet ghax inkella
I: lampa stampa.
R: ezatti ezatti. Li inkella anki naghtu kas niftakar meta ommi siefret biex tara 'l hutha ghax hutha mhumiex M. Meta kienet siefret halliet hafna affarijiet f'idejja. Biex niehu hsieb lil missieri, biex anka nsajjar u tindif bla bla, ma tatx qisu
I: Ma qasmitx ir-responsabbiltajiet
R: ir-responsabbiltajiet qed tifhem. Jista' jaghti l-kaz ukoll ghax nuri hafna responsabbiltá jiena u niehu r-responsabbilta bis-serjeta u hija bhala karattru qisu bhala karattru bhala papru jhalli l-affarijiet jizolqu minn fuqu
I: Jista' jkun ghax dera hekk jew derrewh hekk
R: Derrewh hekk, derrewh hekk. Ghax anke naghtu kaz l-ikel lanqas is-siggu u l-platt ma jnehhi. Jibqa' hekk, ghax hekk ghallmuh. Ma jafx mod iehor. U hu illum jiehu vantagg minnha. Infatti anke meta bhal speci jigi ghand ommi ghadu l-istess. Mhux se jinbidel. La ommi qieghda komda sseftirlu, mhux se jinbidel, qed tifhem.
I: Din kienet f'affarijiet ohra wkoll barra t-tindif, perezempju fl-edukazzjoni jew hekk ukoll?
R: Fl-edukazzjoni kienet ghall-bidu, imma mbaghad bhal speci, kif naqbad nghid, jien urejt li ridt inkompli jiena. Hija wera naghtu kaz li ried jieqaf. Sintendi, dik in a way li gietni tajba ghax ommi riedet l-edukazzjoni u ma tawhiex.
I: Hi kienet riedet titghallem u ma hallewhiex.
R: riedet titghallem u ma hallewhiex biex ghax il-kbira u trid tiehu hsieb 'il hutha ghax kienet xi haga.
I: Allura almenu mieghek ma rrepetietx l-izball
R: Ma rrepetietx l-izball, le ghaliex indunat x'tilfet, qed tifhem. Pero naghtu kaz f'affarijiet ohra, fejn naf jien, naghtu kaz bhal hrug, hija kellu dritt johrog u jmur fejn irid, bla ma ssaqsih, u fejn naf jien jidhol x'hin irid, imma jien le. Allura bhal speci naghtu kaz bhala hrug kont naqra
R: limitata. Hafna pjuttost ghax anke kont naghmel hekk, hekk ... kont hafna niggieled ghad-drittijiet tieghi. Imqar anke z-zmien bhalissa l-Ghid imqar anke biex immur nara l-purcissjoni tal-Gimgha l-Kbira
I: U ta' liema etá imma qed nghidu?
R: Kelli ghoxrin. Jew wiehed u ghoxrin sena. Iva, ghax bhal speci ghalihom il-mara hija bhal speci, miftuha ghall-perikli, imma ahna llum nafu li affarijiet jistghu jkunu kemm fuq mara kif ukoll fuq l-irgiel. Periklu jista' jigri fuq kulhadd.
I: Issa qas tidher speci ta' xiha ommok ghax jiena rajtha, Alla jberikha jigifieri ma ttinix l-impressjoni ta' xi wahda antikwata jew fis-sens siefret, giet wahedha safrattant kellha jew ghandha dawn l-ideat
R: L-ideat li kienu nahseb kienu embedded
I: trabbiet fihom
R: trabbiet fihom u ma tafx ahjar halliha li bhal speci maz-zmien ghax maz-zmien tghallimt jien kif inkellimha mbaghad
R: perezempju kont nghidilha ifhimni kont nghidilha ja omm int taghzel ir-ragel taghzel, ma taghzilx it-tfal. It-tfal kif jigu trid tirrispettahom. U kont nghidilha ghandhom opinjoni. Inti qieghda hemm biex tappoggjani u ttini l-gwienah biex intir mhux biex izzommni mieghek ghax jiena jekk ma nghaddix minn certu esperjenzi ma nistax nikber. U jien ha zzommni domestika u anqas hu sew li ghax jien ma nikbirx la mentalment, la nizviluppa jien bhala personalment ma nistax. Jiena bhal speci ghandi dritt nohrog fid-dinja bhalma qed jaghmel hija
I: Imma kien ikollu effett dan it-tip ta' diskors magha?
R: Ejja naghmlu hekk sakemm sibt il-kliem preciz li jolqotha ghax tghidilha mod ma jasal imkien tghidilha mod iehor ma jasal imkien. L-aktar li bhal speci bdiet tapprezzani minn meta miet missieri.
I: U kemm kellek zmien dak iz-zmien?
R: 2002 jigifieri qeghdin nghidu m'ilux iva. U anke jista' jkun il-kaz ukoll semmewli hafna ghax huma dejjem jarawni bhala avventuruza. Dejjem irrid insiefer, dejjem irrid immur nesperjenza xi xoghol barra, dejjem irrid hbiebi dejjem barranin biex kemm jista' jkun ghandi nikber. Urewni li bhal speci anke l-mod kif nitkellem mhijiex bhala kultura M. ghandi mentalita differenti ta' kif inqis l-affarijiet u nara nhares lejn l-affarijiet
I: Allura dik iktar bezzaghthom forsi u aktar issikkaw ic-cintorin
R: Ezatti, ezatti. U illi bhal speci ghamilt zball ghax gibt il-gebla fuq saqajja ghax
I: Allura minn meta kont ghadek l-iskola qed nifhem jien kienu bdew
R: iva iva
I: (...) sa dak iz-zmien ma nimmaginax kont diga ...minn meta kont l-iskola kont diga bdejt turi din ix-xehta hekk li trid issiefer li indpendenti
R: Jiena l-iskola ejja naghmlu hekk, kwazi shabi kwazi hafna minnhom dejjem barranin, dejjem barranin hadtilha d-dar, iva ma tantx kelli M. iva Ghalija kienu mentalitá differenti u ma stajtx ningwala u ma stajtx nara kif qed jaraw huma. Dejjem kelli perspettiva differenti. Allura jista' jaghti l-kaz li dik ukoll ghenet, mhux biss il-fatt li jiena femminili, pero, ukoll irrid nghid li anke dejjem kull pass li se naghmel jien se nkun l-ewwel, kull pass li se niehu ghalihom jien se nkun l-ewwel u niftah it-triqat u l-bibien ghal huti jiena kelli niggieled kontra hafna hitanijiet imma huti bejn hija ghax ragel allura bhal speci qishom mohhhom mistrieh li bhal speci lilu mhu ha jigrilu xejn imma mbaghad twahhxu meta gralu l-istess affarijiet bhalma graw lili (...) Isseparajt jien issepara hu, jigiferi, bhal speci indunaw li certi affarijiet jistghu jigru ghat-tnejn. Forsi pprotegewni hafna, wisq, minhabba li mara u allura bhal speci hemm il-bzonn li trid tigi pproteguta imma jien inhoss li l-bniedem irid jimrah fil-hajja biex jitghallem ikun fuq saqajh ghax il-genituri mhux dejjem qeghdin hemm meta l-genituri mhumiex hemm ma tistax l-esperjenza ta' persuna wahedha
I: Trid tkun taf tieqaf fuq saqajk imbaghad hu
R: ezatti u li trid tigi minn qabel
I: allura bazikament nistghu nikkonkuduha dil-bicca. Il-kwistjoni li inti kont il-kbira
I: allura tefghu hafna responsabbiltá fuqek u l-fatt li kont mara
I: allura aktar rabtuk ma' xoghol domestiku.
I: Lilek inti hassejtek qed johonquk jekk qed nifhmek sew hux veru?
R: Hafna, ghax qisu ghandek kelb bic-cinga hassejtni qisek limitata
I: Sakemm domt thossok hekk jekk ma jimpurtax? Sakemm izzewwigt perezempju?
R: Jista' u jista' jaghti l-kaz iz-zwieg fuq hekk, biex nahrab minn dak ix-xoghol domestiku. Jista' jaghti l-kaz
I: Mix-xoghol domestiku as such, mill-facendi jigifieri?
R: Minn din facendi u hafna affarijiet ohra li bhal speci kont inhossni affarijiet ohra li kont qed inhossni qisni m'ghandix drittijiet daqs hija, allura qisni biz-zwieg qed nirbah il-liberta tieghi, jista' jaghti nhares lejha hekk
I: Li tinhall mir-rabta tal-kelb
Gender did matter