This weeks reading on Catalina de Erauso left me very conflicted on how I feel towards her. I say her very loosely as I do not want to misgender her or place a label on her/him. It is not specificity indicated how she herself identifies or classifies her sexuality and gender, but for the purpose of this blog post I will refer to Catalina as a she/her.
Catalinas story is one that definitely leaves you thinking. We see her life from to perspectives. Her as a woman, then as a man. As she grew up as a woman in a nunnery, we see the dark side of it. The way she gets taken advantage of, in the sense that she is just a small woman, nothing special, therefore it does not matter what happens to her. She defies this though, she becomes a man. This is her rebellion against the system. The system that says she is to be a certain that of way, she goes against gender. However as her diary goes on, we see her become everything the system is. She may have rebelled against the system as a young girl, she takes advantage of the system as a man. Catalina constantly uses the excuse of being a man to get away with certain things, that if she would have been a woman, there would’ve been extreme punishments. She becomes everything she was rebelling against. It is quite hypocritical. Then as the story goes one we see her switch between the identity of a man and woman, she only does this though when it is convenient for her. She uses the idea of gender as a toy, not something that has real meaning to people who were actually trans or non binary. In that sense she can be recognized for helping break down gender stereotypes but she also reinforced them when she was a male, by being the most macho of mans that you can be. I Apologize if my thoughts were everywhere, I am just so conflicted on how I feel towards Catalina, her life was controversial in my opinion
What do you think would’ve been different in her life if she would’ve stayed a woman for her whole life? Would she have been the stereotypical woman?
September 28, 2020 — 12:50 am
I thought your idea on whether Catalina was a subversive figure or not was very interesting. This made me question as well how I feel. In some ways as you explain, she manipulates the situation, but I feel as though it was ultimately for survival. I can’t imagine that she had the easiest life and back then it was tough, so in some ways I feel like it was a bit of a survival mechanism. I also feel like we can’t look at the situation through a modern lense, I don’t know what it was like back then, but I can’t imagine people being very educated on gender/sexuality- but, I don’t really know. I agree that it is a little controversial, but we also need to examine the situation in which it was in.
– madeleine kindbom