The Girl with the Daffodil Tattoo

A Welsh girl let loose in a wild world


Educando los vascos

Santutxu: Not a Matriarchy

“Santutxu is the most densely populated neighbourhood in Bilbao”, he told me, after we were hotly discussing how population density makes poverty in the UK completely different from here.

I looked in to it. This is an urban legend, a little saying people repeat over and over again, Trump style, until it becomes true.

Are you sitting down? Because I have something to tell you.

Santutxu is 100% not the most densely populated city in Bilbao. No way… Unai?

I wrote a blog post about it here, and my friend changed the Wikipedia entry, and I thought the battle was won. But the war waged on.

Another (güiri) friend quoted the old most populated thing to me again, and I explained to him the (I thought) amusing little anecdote. “Be careful of fake news!”, I patronised him.

Then, what should I find on Wikipedia today, almost a year later?


Yes, that’s right. Some bright spark had yet again changed the Wikipedia entry for Santutxu to read that it’s the most densely populated you-know-what in the you-know-who.

I breathed deeply. I try to keep an open mind, I really, really, do. I checked the sources, yet again, and yet again they show that San Francisco is more densely populated than Santutxu.

So, I finally made a Wikipedia account to set right this unspeakable wrong.

It was much easier than I thought (name and password. That was literally it), but then I was a bit fazed by the html code, but I managed to bodge it.


The reason it irks me so much, as I’ve already said, is it’s something people repeat over and over again until “everyone knows” it. It reminds me too much of the matriarchy myth, a myth Basque men would often casually educate me on, expecting me to side with them about Basque women being too “mean” or “bossy”, because their definition of a “matriarchy” is a Catholic patriarchy where women control men’s money, and also refuse to have sex, because they are such nasty meanies…

For the last time, women can have multiple orgasms, and therefore can potentially enjoy sex more than men, and if they ain’t enjoying their super powers… there’s a densely populated problem going on, in Santutxu and beyond.

Long live fact checking, statistics, and Wikipedia’s super easy to use interface. I salute you all!


Games for girls

I was chatting to someone from the cuadrilla who was a geek. I remember actually not hating the conversation, which was nice. I said “Ah, you lent us that car game. Could you tell me what are the tricks to do better at it?”

“Ah” he said. “Well, the thing is, it’s not meant for girls. You should play one of the gardening ones instead.”

I started laughing hysterically, thinking about what a great joke it was. He continued.

“No, when I’m tired, I play this great gardening game. You should play that one instead.”

His traditional sexism gave me a firm pat on the cheek. I, between laughing, explained to him how the division of labour in our society leads to massive inequalities in men and women and how I didn’t believe there were toys for boys or for girls.

Eventually, in a small voice, he mentioned that the main important strategies of winning the game were memorising the maps and memorising where the speed boosts were.

That wasn’t so hard now was it?

Saint Tomas’ Day, 2014

It was two weeks after my mother’s funeral, and the first time I had gone out. Saint Tomas’ day is a day on the Basque Catholic calendar in which people go out for all day drinking with their friends. The bars are packed, the people are happy. Everyone’s out with their cuadrilla, their tight knit group of friends that they’ve known each other for so long, their other family. Basque’s seem to love deep, long term friendships, and not meeting new people, and never mixing their groups of friends together.

I was so mentally broken at this point I struggled to put a sentence together in Spanish. I felt like someone had hit me in the head with an axe and it was still there.

My boyfriend went inside, leaving me to chat to two of his friends. One of them started to interrogate me about why I wasn’t learning Basque. I was shocked. I could barely form a response. How could I think about learning Basque when my short term memory was fucked, I didn’t have a job, I was in debt because I hadn’t been working while I’d been caring for my mum?

Later, much later, I realised that this guy is so petrified of being called Spanish, so sad that he can’t speak Basque properly, that he likes to verbally attack immigrants whose mother’s have just died to make himself look good in front of his Euskaldun friends. Machismo en el matriarcado.

I didn’t know this group of people well. Some knew my mother had died, like the guy who interrogated me as to why I don’t spend thousand of euros trying to learn a very difficult language at the worst point in my life when I was in complete agony, others didn’t.

“How are you?” said one girl. For a Basque person, this was massively friendly. They don’t usually talk to new people, that’s a bit like being someone slightly unhinged who tries to start a conversation with you on the tube in London.

“Not very good. My mum just died.”

She let out a nervous snort. I knew she didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want to lie but I also didn’t like to make people feel uncomfortable with the smouldering ruins of my life. I hadn’t just lost my mother, I had lost other family members too (we were not on speaking terms), as well as the place where I grew up. I had lost my country. I had lost the force that I had rebelled against for the past 26 years of my life. I had also lost that safety net that is one’s parents house. That place you dread moving back to, but if it’s that or the street, you would take it and be grateful.

El mito del matriarcado*

“Es un matriarcado. Por eso, nadie folla” te dice el machuno. Es un machuno, pero si lo dices tú, sus amiguitos le defienden como “chico normal”, como si su clase social fuese excusa para comportarse como gilipollas. Soy güiri, entonces a los varones en País Vasco les encanta explicarme cosas, como las mujeres aquí son tan malas, etcetera.

Let’s break this down. Por qué no deconstruyamos la “lógica” de esta propuesta.

Primero, la definición de matriarcado. Vamos a utilizar el diccionario Real Academia Español, aunque cambiaron la definición de femenino como “débil” en el año 2014.

1. m. Organización social, tradicionalmente atribuida a algunos pueblos primitivos, en que el mando corresponde a las mujeres.

2. m. Predominio o fuerte ascendiente femenino en una sociedad o grupo.

Ahora bien, históricamente, Euskal Herria es una sociedad en la que mujeres pueden heredar, y administran el dinero de la familia. Pero siempre bajo la supervisión del cura. Para los vascos hoy en día, la definición moderna del matriarcado suele ser que la mujer controla el dinero del hombre, mientras los hombres juegan cartas y las mujeres se quedan en sus jaulas doradas con los críos.

Los vascos no follan por razones simples y que pasan en muchos sitios. Como mujer dentro de un patriarcado, para ganar en el juego con las reglas tal y como están, debes encontrar el hombre con los más recursos para ti. Si follas mucho, y es sabido que follas mucho, pierdes tu valor social, tanto aquí como en cualquier otro sitio. Las propias mujeres hacemos esto cuando llamamos a una chica “slut”, y tiene toda la lógica del mundo. Son principios económicos básicos. Si tu único poder es el sexo, si alguien lo da gratis, tienes menos poder, tu moneda tiene menos valor.

Euskal Herria es catolico, y también tiene cuadrillas. He estado igual 10 veces con una cuadrilla clásica, y experimente de primer mano como los varones controlan con quien las mujeres hablan. Me cogieron por el brazo si hable con alguien fuera del grupo para controlarme. En el momento, no hice nada, igual por shock, igual por coerción.

Luego, parece que muchos hombres de aquí no saben como ser amigos (o igual fingir serlo…) con las mujeres. A veces, hablar casualmente con un vasco tengo la sensación de que, psicológicamente, me está pegando en la cara. Me dicen que hablo con una voz demasiado alto, que debería comportarme mejor, que debería compartir cartas con mi pareja… En fin, queda claro que no tienen experiencia de jugar con las niñas, que no tienen ninguna idea de como relacionarse con las mujeres.

Y no follar? Pues, si fuese un matriarcado, habrá mucho más sexo, ya que las mujeres pueden tener orgasmos multiples y que nuestra sexualidad no es limitada a una erection que dura muy poco tiempo.

One love bonobos!


*Escrito en castellenglish. Va a haber errores. Deal with it.

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