Mercedes Pinto started to write as a little girl and never stopped until she died. In 1924 she delivered a controversial lecture on divorce at the University of Madrid, influenced by her own marriage. She then leaves Spain only to return sporadically. Before settling down in Mexico with her children, she lives, writes and achieves success in Uruguay, Chile and Cuba. She was an actress, a playwright, a poet, a journalist, an activist. Her vision of the woman question cuts across all areas in life, a true precursor of gender mainstreaming.
Talented men and women, intellectuals, are shocked by the harrowing present women in Spain face.
Our female pioneers were more concerned by the right of women to receive a solid and egalitarian education than by universal suffrage. For Pinto, that basic form of equality is necessary to achieve key objectives such as decent wages. Inequality and any structural and contextual violence against female workers must be opposed by her creative energy and her activism. Her thinking and her pen reflected the possibility or a new social contract.
A husband constitutes a regime, an arbitrary and, for me, tragic one. I wanted to make my life simple again…
Pinto lived her first marriage as a political regime marked by violence. This experience marked her awareness of the weak legal status of women, very much aligned with conventional bourgeois femininity and with the undignified conditions of female workers. Her passport to freedom and to a full life was rebelliousness and to that she appeals as the most basic and firmest of impulses.
I write my notes down yet again, now that no one chases me. I am a novel.
The past must never be forgotten and must be understood in order to build a strong voice, a narrative. The girl poet and avid reader that she was, a healthy and strong child, could not escape a society obsessed with taming girls before they become women. The love for the child she was connects yesterday and today. The voice that writes is still that little girl, with an added narrative of self-empowerment.
A Project by University of Exeter, University of Barcelona and Santander Fundación
Actress: Ruth Gabriel
Written and Directed by: Paula Ortiz y Nuria Capdevila-Argüelles
SOURCE: Ella (Madrid, Biblioteca nueva: 1969). Él (Madrid, Biblioteca Nueva: 1969).