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Argentina: My first Argentine lady

By Ana Maria Hanssen


ARGENTINA: I want to tell you about the first Argentine female I met in my life. Her name is Mafalda and I am sure many of you have met her too. Growing up in Colombia, it never even crossed my mind that she was from a different country.

I guess that’s because her ideas and philosophy go beyond our concept of countries. Her middle class life mirrored that of many Latin American children.

When I met her she was 6 years old and about to start school. Back then, she liked The Beatles, hated soup and loved to play cowboys at the park with her friends. She loved asking her parents questions and would do whatever it took to eat pancakes, her favorite food in the world.

Although she is an entirely fictional character born in the mind of her author, Quino, she made me think about things back then, and still does. Even though she is a girl from the 60’s, her criticism and analysis of the world are still current.

She was born June 15th, 1962, so if she were real she would be almost 47 years old today. Now that I live in San Telmo, her old neighborhood, somehow I feel as if I could run into her at any time. I wonder if she would still have her pet turtle named “Burocracia”. Even today, no one could argue that the name is perfectly descriptive. Some things never change.

Mafalda, a six-year-old crusader for justice.

I hope she wouldn’t smoke, as many women in Argentina do. I also hope she would not be anorexic, a strong tendency in fashion these days. I hope she would still have a sense of humor and would not turn into a cynical “porteña”.

I wonder if she would have had children. It wasn’t part of her plans back then, but who knows. Maybe when she grew up she would fall for one of her friends Felipe or Manolito or another Prince Charming.

I bet she would still worry about the world’s political situation. I am also sure that she would be disappointed after watching how little the world has changed. Except for the fall of communism, I am sure she would still see how sick the world still is.

That is why deep down I hope to see her walking down the streets of San Telmo, still as the kid I met when I was a kid. I’d love to tell her that everything is gonna be alright and that the world is going to be different when she grows up.

I would also tell her she is my favorite Argentinean woman. Ever.

Learn more about Ana María

Ana María Hanssen is a 30-year-old Colombian journalist and freelance writer currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

She is the author of “Holocausto en el silencio”, a book that details the 1985 siege of the Supreme Court palace in Bogota by the M-19 guerrillas – one of the most painful episodes in Colombian history.

As a result of the Army’s violent reaction to this equally violent act, more than one hundred people died — including the nation’s Supreme Justices — eleven still remain missing.

The book won the Colombian Literature Prize for best non-fiction book in 2006.



Ana María has worked for media in Los Angeles, California; México, Colombia and in her new home, Argentina.


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  • Rocío
    March 9, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    jaja I think that every women in Latinamerican and other places of the world too, we are online with Mafalda.

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