As a blogger, I have a policy of not blogging about blogging itself. Since SpainStruck´s my blog, however, I´ve decided to suspend that policy for one post.
The Facebook group, Writers and Bloggers About Spain, a talented and bloody-minded bunch that brighten up my day, is essentially made up of entrepreneurs.
I´ve always been prejudiced against entrepreneurs. The reasons for this are complex and long-winded and go back to the 12th Century so I´m not going to expand on this now. The WABAS group have unwittingly and successfully challenged that prejudice of mine …. though I was already on such a learning curve myself, since living in Spain has forced me to re-examine the outmoded and ineffectual patterns of thought that used to dominate my intellectual inheritance.
I want to illustrate what I mean via an anecdote.
Picture it. A working-class barrio in Alcalá de Henares. A chat outside the butcher´s with an admired neighbour. He´s about my age, funny, smart and cheeky. He always takes the piss out of me and is as much of a natural rebel as myself. We get on.
Yet what he had to say shocked me. After the initial, and by now, obligatory exchange of improperios concerning the economic crisis, he mentioned that he´d been taking his daughter around to echar currículos (leave copies of her CV) in every kind of organization and business in the hope of finding her a job.
I admired his dedication to his daughter …. till I realised what he meant. He´s not driving her places and waiting in the car. She´s got her own car. No, my neighbour is leading his 25 year-old daughter into the above-mentioned places and haranguing employees and funcionarios (admin staff) into letting her leave her CV.
“She´s so shy,” he said. ”She´s really capable, she´s got great marks, but she can´t push herself forward.”
If I was an employer, would I give her a job?
In what world is it acceptable for a 25 year old girl to trail mutely behind her Daddy on a job search? It´s plainly ridiculous, yet this father chatted on as though this approach to his daughter´s future was perfectly normal. Couldn´t he see that any employer would wonder what initiative, what gumption, that girl could possibly have herself?
I realised I´d found the famous niña de Rajoy. During his electoral campaign the inept politician and now President of the Spanish Government, Mariano Rajoy, employed the slushy reclamo of a little girl on which to project a future in which all young people would be successful in conservative Spain.
This ”feminization” of the bright, Spanish future was a “right on” electioneering trick in the fight to win votes, an attempt to soften the macho ibérico image of the Partido Popular. It didn´t work – but it did subtly associate the female with the sentimental, equating it with vulnerability.
My neighbour appears to have fallen into a vat of slushy, paternalistic protectionism and is rendering his daughter powerless.
The Facebook WASAB group often argue for an entrepreneurial education for children. Having listened to my neighbour and seen too, how initiative and originality are often marked down in the Spanish educational system, I see that the dependence of labour on the State is often counterproductive, especially when that State is veering further and further towards fascism and engineered unemployment.
So, one of the alternatives is clearly entrepreneurship. By this I mean start up something yourself, use the new technologies, be creative, sell your knowledge, build something, create a space of economic freedom where there was none.
It´s not perfect. It´s still part and parcel of a rabid capitalist system that´s gone nuts. But it´s one of the ways in which Spanish youth can become empowered.
I do see that given her circumstances and education my niña de Rajoy neighbour isn´t really to blame for her passivity but I wonder what will happen if she doesn´t get a job – which is more than likely.
Will she seek alternative approaches to employment and stand up on her own two feet as a grown woman?
I hope so.