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have been the target of so many forms of surveillance and have been construed as negligent mothers. The eagerness for motherhood of low-income women in Puerto Rico is a constant issue. In 2002 the writer Mayra Montero wrote an emblematic article that reflects what from my point of view is a widespread anxiety about this sector of the population. In her article, Motherhood, she refers to the lack of responsibility of poor girls who become pregnant. She makes a link between poverty and crime and suggests a general identification between poor mothers and child abuse (Montero: 2002, p.5). This mode of expression performs a dangerous operation, by leveling and generalizing the situation of poor women. We cannot forget that poverty is also a media representation. These representations are sometimes used to avoid the important issue of sexual education. In Puerto Rico there is no good gender and sexual education curriculum in schools, to foster a reproductive health policy that benefits all students. We all know that motherhood has been a powerful control dispositive of women bodies. But it seems to me that this feminist discussion has been forgotten in Puerto Rican debates. More recently, in the local press, we have had the case of Francesca Soto Meléndez, a very young low income mother, living in public housing, who was the subject of public discussion. At the beginning of last June, Soto Meléndez left her one-and-a-half year old daughter with a neighbor to babysit her. When the neighbor went to change the baby girl’s diaper she noticed that there was something wrong in her vaginal area. The baby was then taken to the hospital, where it was erroneously concluded that she had been sexually molested, possibly by her own mother. Soto Meléndez was imprisoned after she failed to post her $100,000 bail. After her attorney intervened and was able to get her bail reduced to $200, Soto Meléndez was able to go home, however her two children were not at home waiting for her. Only later did they realize that it was a vaginal infection due to improper cleaning of the area. But by then, the Family Department had intervened and taken custody of the baby girl and her three-year-old brother. Similar kinds of mistakes in the way the justice system and the family government department handle supposed child abuse cases are very frequent. It is clear that class prejudice plays an important role when a woman is the object of suspicion of child abuse. While in Puerto Rico birth rates have dropped, the construction of the negligent mother figure favours a constant surveillance on women's bodies. From my point of view what women in Puerto Rico need is a different kind of approach. A new and non-moralizing relationship with our bodies. We need a new kind of education that states the responsibilities and rights consequent to being a citizen, and a very committed interest in thinking about what practice of freedom means.

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