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Of Voyages and Broken Borders
Elda J. Stanco
United StatesGALLERYCONVERSATION
“I see women who have arrived and who are not intending to leave anytime soon. I see their mothers swell with pride and even follow...”
Perhaps if you saw me you would understand. People tell me I can pass for Israeli, Chilean, Spanish, Irish, Greek, Brazilian, Iranian. . . . At the beginning it was shocking. Then it became an exciting game of let-the-stranger-guess. It turned funny. A bit neurotic. Eventually it made my stomach hurt, literally. I opted to answer “Nowhere.
Nowadays whoever asks gets the thirty-minute saga of how my existence came about. Word of mouth about me seems to have spread, because fewer and fewer people are asking. But somehow I doubt that the mystery surrounding my “Nowhere” answer has brought this situation about. You see, what I considered to be my characteristic multicultural background, and thus my multicultural “look” (if there is such a thing), is somewhat of a standard for many women today.
Undoubtedly, the curiosity over where women are from is being replaced with information sessions about migration patterns. Nowadays what shocks is meeting a woman who has one distinct lineage and hails from one distinct place. A woman who was born, raised, and still lives in the same place and manner as her mother and grandmother is, plainly stated, an oddity.
Wouldn’t you agree that it has become quite impossible — if not passé — to characterize a woman by her nationality, her ethnicity, her race, or her language? Certainly this generation is best defined as a generation of plurality, of women who cannot and should not be solely classified as German, Southeast Asian, white, or Farsi-speaking. We are “multi-” women: multicultural, multilingual, and multinational — even if that last one sounds like a peacekeeping force.
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