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The literary meeting was broadcasted live through the Facebook of the association El Laboratorio for research and innovation in architecture, urban planning, design and advanced tourism
The initiative La literatura es femenina (Literature is female), in collaboration with Cabildo de Tenerife, PROMOTUR and the CajaCanarias Foundation, held last Friday 21st of May 21 in the Strasse Park of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, a dialogue between the writers Valérie Tasso and Dulce Xerach. In the dialogue, the author of the famous book Diary of a Nymphomaniac (2003), she spoke about the great issues that anyone would avoid today: sexuality, politics, prostitution and feminism.
The French-born writer Valérie Tasso, who currently resides in Barcelona, went from wanting to be a diplomat to being a sexologist and writer. When she started working in the European Parliament and in the Council of Europe she realized one thing: “All the top officials worked little and made a lot of money. I saw a lot of money and a lot of trips, but also a routine that didn’t quite convince me”. Already in this process of learning languages, an essential requirement in international relations, Tasso comments that the best way to learn languages «is in bed.» “On the pillow, and thanks to my lovers, I improved my languages. It seemed much more interesting to me than attending my language classes in Strasbourg”.
«I am not the writer of Diary of a nympho, I am Valerie Tasso and everything behind me»
Fame has pigeonholed Valérie Tasso, but she doesn’t dislike it: “I don’t care if they pigeonhole me because I write essays, philosophy, I’ve made other kinds of novels…; but it does not bother me, it is the problem of others, not mine”. «I care very little that they pigeonhole me because I know who I am, I am not the writer of Diary of a nymphomaniac, I am Valerie Tasso and everything behind me,» she explains herself. Both writers, Xerach and Tasso, have suffered from being public persons, and for Valérie the difference between being a politician and dedicating yourself to prostitution is not so big. “I see a lot of similarity between prostitution and politics. A lot of people switch from one game to another for convenience, for example,” she says.
Before practicing prostitution, she had a very high socioeconomic position. «For vital reasons of mine, an abuser made me incur debts that I could not pay with my executive salary,» explains Tasso. And many people, she adds, reproached her for choosing the “easy way” to obtain that money, an adjective that she categorically denies, and narrates how she was encouraged to tell it: “When I wrote Diary of a Nymphomaniac I was tired of the stigma that exists in prostitution that women who prostitute themselves are: uneducated, vulgar, illiterate, dependent on mafias… ”. It is for this reason that she showed her face and did not hide her identity, despite the great success she had: “If I fight against a stigma, the worst thing I can do is to hide because then there is no stigma to fight against… I had to show it. «
«Sex has to continue to be something sacred, it does not have to be like getting a coffee»
«Sex has to be normalized, but not trivialized, because the concept of morbidness is lost,» explained Tasso. She does not want the same thing to happen with sex as what has happened with violence, she explains, which has been trivialized «due to constant exposure in series and movies.» She warns for this danger, which is already happening in some places: “If there is not something sacred behind sex, it becomes something much less pleasant and satisfying. Many societies that call themselves advanced have already trivialized it”.
She advocates that we have to normalize sexuality, «especially female sexuality, which was silenced for centuries because it was of interest,» she adds. «We have to talk more about desire, so demonized since Adam and Eve and Helen of Troy, until the creation of the figure of the femme fatale,» said Valérie Tasso. And to put strength to her saying, the French writer reflects aloud: “I have the feeling that we have returned to a certain puritanism, neo-Puritanism, which comes from the 17th century. As much as there is a progressive discourse, I wonder if, today, Diary of a nymphomaniac could have been published ”.
«In 2017 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and underwent a radical hysterectomy»
«I will tell you something that I have rarely told,» Valérie Tasso began to narrate. “In 2017, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and had a radical hysterectomy. They caused me to undergo surgical menopause and I gained 30 kilos”, she confesses. She had a “very bad time”, she adds, due to her criticisms and her comments: “How fat or how ugly is Valérie”. She has already recovered, although even being an oncology patient, she looks back with some pity: “I have lost the 30 kilos that I gained, but I had a very bad time. That’s when I got an atrocious fear of getting old”.
“I lost the fear of aging little by little, it is something impossible to change. I don’t mind my physical appearance too much,” says Tasso. Dulce Xerach, by way of closing, rescues a phrase by Valérie Tasso that contains the essence of this thought that flees from the superficiality of the physique: «It puts a head held high rather than a low neckline». The French writer wanted to highlight the following idea: «We will not stop being sexualized women even though for centuries we have been seen as furniture.»