This Email Left Our Team In Tears
Posted on 06 March 2016
Our CEO & Founder Hayat received the loveliest email from a wonderful lady called Miriam Zororiku Leorza Carballo with a very simple but poignant message in her inbox - "Thank you". We have never been so touched by something we have ever read. We truly appreciate all words of kindness and support we receive, and this one really had us in tears. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!
"Dear Hayat Rachi,
I’d like to thank you for your braveness and for being an inspiration for me and surely for many other women all around the world.
I am 22-years-old Spanish woman. As almost every woman I grew up in a sexist environment; my father – who I see once or twice a year since I was 12 – did always make clear that he had been so unlucky, for he wanted to have a son – “at least one” as he used to say – but instead he had had three daughters – three women. He did never help my mother at home or taking care of us and he didn’t, of course, taught us to play football, because we were girls and girls don’t play football (that’s what he said). My mother tried to raise us as best as she could and she made sure we didn’t feel inferior because of our sex and taught me I could do anything I wanted. I admit she often fell into sexist traditions and customs without being aware, but in spite of it she did really do a good job. I grew unaware of the real sexism many other young girls had to go through.
I started to know about feminism when I was 15 or 16 years old. By that time I hated wearing dresses and skirts but my mother forced me to wear them. I thought that was because I was a girl, because if I were a boy she wouldn’t had forced me to wear skirts. Of course she didn't do that to hurt me, but those little sexist details started to bother me. My grandparents also treated me differently to my male cousin, who was the same age. I started to know about other girls’ stories and felt that I had to do something to change that, but at the same time I felt I couldn’t do anything because I was too young.
When I was 17 I started studying English at university in a different city, for my hometown is not very big. My world grew bigger and at university I learnt about feminist writings and writers. I didn’t know what feminism really meant until then. Of course, I knew feminism consisted of fighting for equality, but I was not aware that the breach that existed between women and men was so, so deep. I also knew about racism – which luckily had been out of my environment until then – and started to think about the issues and experiences other women had to go through, this time not only because of their sex, but also because of the colour of their skin. I have to admit I was too naive. Until I was 20 I thought racism was just a part of our past.
My appearance probably doesn’t fit the stereotype of “Spanish woman” who many people have in their minds. I am blonde, fair-skinned and I’ve got grey eyes. I matured before the other girls at my age, so when I was 11 years old and still attended primary school my classmates started to laugh at me because I had hair on my legs, although it was really hard to notice it as I was blonder then and they matched my skin tone. I was too young, so without thinking about the consequences or what it meant, I decided to shave my legs when I was 12, secretly, because my mother thought I was too young for shaving – and she was right. During my teens I shaved regularly and even sometimes I didn’t go out with my friends because I hadn’t shaved and I didn’t wanted them to see my “hairy legs.” I think we all have something to regret, but that’s also something to learn from.
I’ve been following you since March 2015 and I’ve always thought you are really brave and encouraging. Yesterday I went out without shaving for the first time since I was 12. I was really afraid, I have to admit it, so I chose my favourite Lolita dress, for I think when you are going to do something that scares you, you have to wear the clothes that makes you feel most comfortable and confident.
I have been dressing Lolita for some time and when I go out I usually have to confront people who yell at me as I walk or stare at me as if I came from another world. I understand that people look at me, after all this fashion is not usual where I live, but I have had to undergo many disgusting situations and many people have made me feel really uncomfortable. But quitting shaving is not the same. I like dressing Lolita dresses and by dressing that way I’m telling others I don’t care what they think about me, I’m dressing the way I want and the way I feel comfortable. Not shaving goes further. I have grown up in a society where I have been told that, as a woman, not shaving is completely unacceptable, and I’ve believed that for many years. So the fact that I don’t shave is not just telling the world I have the right to choose, it means that, as a woman, I am confronting myself, confronting what I have been told for years, and self-shame, which makes me regret my own body. That is what society teaches women.
Yesterday I was brave enough to go out with hair on my legs and that is something I hadn’t thought about in my life. I hadn’t thought about it as a way of rejecting my own body or as a sexist custom, for men are not forced to think that way. I considered it normal and logical, until I met you, you made me think about all these things, and I really wanted to thank you for that.
All my life I’ve been so naive, but little by little I am opening my eyes to see how the world really is, and you have helped me to do it. From now on I know that if I shave or not is my personal choice and I’m not making this decision based on what society has continuously been telling me about my own body. Now I am free to choose.
Thank you so much xxx"