When the Diego Siloé high school in Albacete organized a short-film competition for its students, Alicia Ródenas, 17, entered a video in which she reads out a hundred or so sexist comments.
She starts with a few that reinforce gender stereotypes during childhood, such as: “If they see you playing with boys they’ll call you a tomboy.” or “Computers? Wouldn’t you rather be dancing? You’re so pretty when you wear a dress!” Then she moves on to comments such as: “You’re always surrounded by boys, you’re such a pricktease,” and: “What’s wrong with you, are you on your period?”
Other comments include: “You’re always surrounded by boys, you’re a pricktease”
The video ends with sentences that make direct references to abuse, such as: “If he looks at you again I’ll hit him,” and: “Don’t leave me, or I’ll do something crazy.”
The recording has not just been limited to a scholarly circles: it has been watched more than 120,000 times since her high school published it on YouTube on March 29. What’s more, it has been seen nearly a million times on Facebook, where it was shared by the page Afectados BB Serveis.
The text that Ródenas is reading out already went viral in 2015. It is entitled, “What a pretty girl!” and was written by Ro de la Torre, from Madrid. She first published it on her Facebook page and then on the feminist website Locas del coño. Ródenas liked the text and asked for permission to use it, as she explains to Verne by phone. The owners of the Locas del coño site not only gave her permission to do so, but also shared the result on their Facebook page.
“Right from the start I was clear how I wanted to do it, and I did it like that,” she explains. “They sent me several videos just in case they were helpful, but I didn’t want to see any of them.” In terms of her performance, Ródenas explains that she has been going to theater classes for two years, “but it’s more of a hobby. I want to study Psychology.”
As tends to happen with this kind of issue, once the video went viral, insulting comments began to appear on YouTube, to the point that the high school had to disable them.
Insulting comments appeared on YouTube and the school had to disable them
But in general, response to the video has been very positive. “The comments that I like the most are from people who say that their attitude has changed after they saw the video,” says Ródenas, adding that the video has also been debated in school after a screening by the psychology teacher.
Ródenas says that she sees the video and the text as a positive way to get people talking about sexism and to show how it is embedded in many phrases that women hear from a very young age, but that many see as inoffensive. “We have to start young,” she says. “If not it’s very hard to learn that saying these things is bad.”
De la Torre has previously explained to Verne that she wanted to show how “sexist violence is not just a death, but rather something that you carry with you all your life.” Along similar lines, the Ródenas video ends with this caption: “Gender violence is not just physical. We live through it from our infancy and it follows us until the end. It’s now or never.”
English version by Simon Hunter.