“Es poca mujer.” These were words I heard at various points growing up and that have stuck with me. Literally it means “she’s not much of a woman,” but the phrase is used to mean a woman is not strong enough or cannot handle a situation. For example, if a woman is unable to handle her responsibilities as a mother, wife, and home manager, then some might say, “es poca mujer.”
The phrase has never been said about me, at least not to my face. I’ve heard it said by my mom, mostly, but also other family members in reference to other women we know. In all honesty, it seems like such a judgmental and harsh phrase to me. Of course, it goes back to something I’ve written about before – how in our Latino culture, women and moms especially, are somewhat expected to be super women. The result of not being able to balance it all is to be called out as “not good enough.”
Do you know how often I could be called “poca mujer” based on that definition? I try hard to get many things done and meet a lot of self-imposed expectations, but I would cringe if someone ever told me it wasn’t good enough. I can only do the best I can and really, who besides me can truly know what a successful day entails? Success for our family is probably different than it is for yours. So, for someone else to call me “poca mujer,” or to call anyone that, seems a bit cruel.
To me, saying “es poca mujer” about a woman is equivalent to calling her weak. And to call a woman weak because she is not able to keep up with so many aspects of her life – mainly those involving caring for others – well, it’s just wrong, isn’t it?
Are you familiar with the phrase? What are your thoughts on how it’s used?