Semplica Girl Diaries and Bonds of Love

I see Benjamin’s theory heavily exemplified in Semplica Girls. I see how a dynamic like the SG’s could take place within a binary like those that Benjamin identifies in Bonds of Love. If a family believes so completely that they are saving these girls, and the girls “willingly” buy into this creation, then the two continue on identifying one another by being opposites: I have money so I buy SG’s. I am a poor person and as such, my only hope at a better life is submitting to the systems in place to “help” me.

Eva is the only person achieving mutual recognition in this story, or at least beginning to. She understands herself as a human, but she also understands herself to be no different than the SG’s. As such, she recognizes the girls as human beings, and so with that understanding she decides to let them free. As the reader of these diaries, we are meant to root for the family to succeed, we want them to gain some happiness in what we (or at least I) view as an abysmal livelihood. When Eva lets the girls go, the reader is meant to be so ingrained in the binary–that these people have the power and should be able to do and buy whatever they please–we can’t even fathom what she has done. Because what she has done is the one thing Benjamin argues is so extremely difficult to do: recognize yourself and someone else as human, and have those people recognize your humanity as well.