Not a Conventional Woman

By Laura M. Olivieri Robles

10:30a.m. on a recent Wednesday, morning classes have just ended at the University of Puerto Rico- Mayagüez and you can see how the green campus is bustling to life as students walk out of the main buildings.

Amidst all of the familiar faces, a student dressed in cargo shorts, oversized hoodie, flip-flops and a cap walks through the campus. If you don’t take a second look you might think she is a good-looking guy.

Margie Muñoz, 20, a philosophy major, is committed to challenging stereotypes.


Margie Muñoz, in her usual attire, ordering at La cueva de Tarzán, the student coffee shop at UPRM.


The UPRM student has identified as a lesbian since she was 14. “As far as I can remember, I have always liked girls,” she said. Her parents were not as sure as she was; it took her family three years to accept that she was not just confused about her sexuality.

Margie is a very driven person who is clear about her life plans. She has been independent since she graduated high school. “I pay my taxes!,” she jokingly said. In order to pay the rent and put food on the table this full-time college student works as a bartender and is part of the U.S. Army.

Her life is challenging but she does not regret her independence. All of adulthood’s headaches are worth it at the end of the day, she said.

Academically, however, she admits that her path was not always so clear. She entered the university thinking science was her future but she was quickly disappointed when she found out that in science “you have to swallow things that are already given.” Margie believes that in order to learn she must question, investigate and discover– she could not exactly debate Newton’s gravitational law.

That is one of the reasons why she loves philosophy so much: “it’s all about asking the right questions.”

This revelation took place on 2012, when she was forced to take a year off from college in order to complete her training in the U.S. Army. She may have stopped learning classroom lessons during that year, but she never stopped thinking. It turns out that as she was kept from school she found herself thinking and analyzing more. Margie came back from her training very sure of what she wanted in life.

During that year she learned that practicing a lucrative profession was not what life was about. So, casting aside societal expectations about professional success, she chose to pursue a much desired career in philosophy. Her major is just another way she has chosen to challenge societal norms.

Society’s norms are not really something Margie Muñoz gives much thought about; as she does not mind having more muscle mass than is socially acceptable for young women in Puerto Rico. She also does not give much thought to the clothes she wears and she challenges societal expectations about female body image by refusing to shave.

Not putting much thought to her outfits and choosing comfort over all may be read by others, as careless or sloppy but as she puts it “The way I dress is not a priority for me, I simply don’t catalogue doing my hair as a top priority.”

Her transgression of societal expectations for young women is unusual and often makes her the target of judgment. Whether she is mistaken as a guy or is looked at with disgust because of her hairy legs she simply does not take it seriously. She understands that people come with their own thoughts and ideas and that many are simply not used to her reality.

Her body image is another statement of her transgressions. Her biceps are as sculpted and hard as David, Michael Angelo’s sculpture. Considering her training of choice is Crossfit, her whole body is sculpted, having more muscle mass than what is socially expected of women. Crossfit is an exercise philosophy that focuses on strength and conditioning, where those who practice it test themselves on every session.

Having a crossfitter physique may give her a rough appeal but in thruth “She may seem tough and rough but she is the most positive person I know,” said Emylette Cintrón, a friend of Margie who is a fellow UPRM student.

When Margie first practiced it, it was like love at first sight, it became a place where she challenged her body and mind.

Excersice is her ultimate relaxer when she’s stressed about classes or financial situations.  Margie’s schedule is packed but she astutely got the hang of it, otherwise the pace of her everyday life would run her over. Believing harmony is the key to everything, Margie organizes her time with that in mind, and makes the most of every minute she has at hand.

Margie catching up on assigned readings at her usual hang out spot between classes, Café Colegial.

Margie catching up on assigned readings at her usual hang out spot between classes, La Cueva de Tarzán. 

The barista at La Cueva de Tarzán, Ricardo, describes Margie as a very caring, hardworking and direct person.

Her ultimate goal in life is to land a job related to her philosophy major, going to work because she loves it and not because she needs the money, and owning a house.

In Puerto Rican society Margie knows that she is considered unfeminine. However, she is clear that she is a woman. Following the philosophy of her role model, Simone de Beauvoir, she says: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”

Margie is an unconventional woman, and proud of it.




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