Iris Borda: We Should Not Fear Mediocrity

Iris Borda: We Should Not Fear Mediocrity

Iris Borda touches on various issues related to women, what it means to be a woman, and the weight of mediocrity versus always highlight.

I want to be able to be mediocre and have nothing happen. I want to know that my value does not depend on my abilities or beauty. I want to know that I am valid and deserve respect for the mere fact of being alive.” This is what Iris Borda, a Spanish writer, and feminist, affirms.

This writer touches on various issues related to women, and what it means to be a woman; she also issues such as misogyny, prostitution, virginity, race, etc., and, of course, language, since she raises all those issues from a literary perspective. She appropriately associates these terms and ideologies through illustrations and fragments created by her.

On this occasion, the subject she touches on is mediocrity. The proposition “When I grow up I want to be able to be mediocre“, starts from the fact that it does not refer to the fact that girls do not have to dream of being mediocre, nor that girls are, per se, mediocre; on the contrary, what it tries to highlight is that girls and women can be mediocre and still be just as valid. Well, she considers that socially, probably, apparently, that consideration is not very clear.

In literature, and, likewise, in the cinema, what was previously said by the writer can be perfectly exemplified. Women who have important roles, referring to important roles, which are considered as such, especially the protagonists, are usually exceptional and with “special” and “amazing” qualities, adding the fact that they are generally physically beautiful, under the so-called culturally established standard.

All this is related, inferentially, or implicitly, whatever you want to call it, to what is known as impostor syndrome. Women have two possible options: be invisible, or be exceptional. However, Iris Borda assures us that we know dozens of male protagonists who are mediocre and that “nothing happens”. This is because men are not required or pressured to be exceptional; men can always be admired. In contrast, women do not. Women can only be admired if there is no other option because we must be so good at anything, that it is impossible, especially for ourselves, to ignore that fact.

Iris Borda concludes that the sad reality is that we admire a mediocre man more than an exceptional woman or, in other words, a woman is required to be exceptional to reach the same place as a mediocre man.

This responsibility to be outstanding is unconsciously stressed in us, due to the social pressure that has been instilled for years, even centuries. This generates self-deprecation of our actions, being so extremely self-demanding that hardly anything manages to be enough, more than for society, for ourselves. Here is when it is important to remember that our value, not as women, but as human beings, does not depend on our abilities, excellence, or beauty. Let’s think, just for one second, that our value starts with our existence.

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