Breaking Free From the Traditional Norms

At 24-years-old, Michelle Aleman decided it is time for her to move out from Spain and have a fresh start in the city of her dreams New York. Aleman was born in Malaga, in a Spanish conservative family. She is the youngest of two sisters, and had lived her entire life in the south of Spain.



Michelle Aleman in Malaga, Spain. (Photo taken by Rabab Talal)

” I knew I was not meant to live my whole life in Malaga, I just felt like I was destined to see more and experience more from life” says Aleman.

After, pursuing a degree in Fashion Design at the European University of Design in Madrid, she worked hard in order to finally be able to break free from the life that her parents were already preparing for her. She implied for an internship in New York, and when few months later, she received her acceptance letter, she was thrilled.

” I just could not believe my eyes, the day I was waiting for, for so long has finally came. I’m going to leave Spain and become independent and work in what I love.” she recalls.

Aleman comes from a family that believes in traditional, old-fashioned values regarding women. That is to say, getting a degree, married, and having children. However, Aleman feels as if she is a bird in a cage and just needs to escape from this preordained life that her parents have for her.
“My dad was so mad when I announced to him that I was leaving Spain and was going to start a new life in New York” Aleman remembers. “He told me, why would a Spanish Catholic girl would ever want to leave her country, her family and all her life behind. What more does the United States has that we don’t.”

Independence, thought Michelle Aleman. She just did not want to confine herself to a predestined role that her social circle attributed to her. She feels like she could finally be whoever she wishes to be once she will distance herself from her roots.

“I know that my parents are disappointed that I’m leaving and surprised that I’m detaching myself from the social norms that the all women of my family including my mother and my sisters have always followed.” says Aleman.


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