Note: I originally posted this in my blog in Spanish. Since this is a translation, I kept some things in Spanish, added some context, and changed some things so it’s more understandable. If you want to read the original version, you can do that here.
You thought I wasn’t going to write about feminism in this blog? Well, it took some time but here it is.
First, I want to say that I was crying while seeing the photos of women painting victims’ names outside of Palacio Nacional. I loved seeing women hanging flowers on the walls. I wanted to go out and add women’s names to the streets.
But I can’t so I decided to write something instead.
A bit of context for those who don’t know too much about me.
I come from Mexico. This is a country where 10 women per day are killed because they’re women. Violence against women is everywhere. Living in fear is something we do since we start understanding how the world works.
Every year after women march and protest on March 8 there’s always soooooooomeone saying the same stupid things about feminism, women, and “esas no son las formas” or that’s not the way to solve things.
This year, instead of complaining with my friends and family, I decided to write about those things that make my blood boil. Every time I listen to these phrases I think we’re lost but, if I can make at least one person change their mind with this, I’ll be happy!
Ni machismo ni feminismo, humanismo
I spent a lot of time thinking about how to translate this and decided to explain it instead. Once upon a time, the president of Mexico said that we didn’t need machismo (male chauvinism) or feminism, we just need humanism. I left the original word machismo in Spanish on purpose.
So let’s dissect this one:
- Machismo and feminism aren’t two sides of the same coin. Yes, the words are similar BUT machismo refers to “an attitude or way of thinking of those who maintain that men are by nature superior to women.” On the other hand, feminism is a “doctrine and social movement that demands the recognition of capabilities and rights of women that have been traditionally reserved for men.” It took me two seconds to google this, btw.
- While machismo seeks superiority, feminism seeks equality. BIG difference, right?
- So, what about Humanism? Well, glad you asked. Humanism, according to Wikipedia (in many of its definitions, consider I chose the one I think the president of Mexico was referring to), “regards humanist principles like universal human dignity, individual freedom, and the importance of happiness as essential and principal or even exclusive components of the teachings of Jesus.”
- Do you know what we need so Humanism exists? Feminism.
But it’s not just about definitions and words that look and sound alike. Denying the need for feminism is denying that women have been at a great disadvantage for ages… if not for ALL ages. It’s not me saying it, someone who knows way more than me said it better:
“Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.”Chimamanda Ngozi
These women don’t represent me
Well, I got some news for you. Even if they don’t look like you, they don’t think like you, they do things you’d never do, or you don’t like the way they act, these women represent you. They represent US.
Thanks to women like them, that go out to the streets, that make their voices heard, and that aren’t afraid of what others will think about them, is that we have so many advantages. The simple act of me freely writing this and of you freely reading it is thanks to women like them that have fought before us.
The fact that you can study, work, decide to be a mother or not (just in some places, sadly), travel alone or with someone, dress whatever way you want, and hundreds and hundreds of more things is thanks to women that didn’t care about “representing” you and that, instead, thought about all of us.
I sometimes feel bad because I’m not a great feminist (I know there aren’t correct or incorrect ways of being a feminist but sometimes I feel like that). My feminism is basically tweeting things, sharing stuff, donating money, and correcting people when they say sexist things.
It’s so lazy haha.
But precisely because of that is that I admire these women so much. I love that they’re going out to the streets and that they actively support other women in need. I was so impressed seeing the pics of women taking some government offices in Mexico. How can you not admire women that just👏make👏things👏happen👏?
So, I can’t complain. I’m grateful.
I know that if I’m missing someday, if I need help someday, they’ll be there by my side.
Every time I hear this (or see it trending on Twitter, uf) I’d love to tell them that instead of complaining and stirring the pot they should think if they’d give up all the privileges they can enjoy thanks to these women. Including men, by the way.
This is not solving anything
Always, always, always after the protests there are photos on Facebook and Twitter that show destroyed stores, painted walls and monuments, and cars vandalized. Also almost always, always, always, they have texts like “I’m also a woman and look, they destroyed [instert thing here] that has taken me so long to build.”
And then there are people (that are almost always men) adding comments and saying, “see, this is not the way to solve things, you’re asking for respect and you’re not giving it,” etc. etc. etc.
Women have tried to solve things “the good way” as we say in Mexico.
Have you seen the documentary Las tres muertes de Marisela Escobedo (the three deaths of Marisela Escobedo)? That’s a clear example of that. This woman seeks justice for her daughter that was a victim of femicide. She goes everywhere, goes the legal way. She does everything “the good way.”
The killer CONFESSES that he killed Marisela’s daughter and even then, no justice is served.
After doing everything “right”, do you know what happened? NOTHING. There never was justice. In the end, Marisela is victim of this same system she was trying to destroy.
Just imagine authorities investing more money in defending the house of a harasser and rapist than in protecting and helping the women he raped. Aren’t you angry about that?
In the end, the things that are destroyed are things. Yes, it costs money to repair them. It takes resources to replace broken windows. Cleaning monuments and statues must be hard. But it can be done. A wall can be repaired. A statue can be cleaned. Glass can be bought again.
Do you know what’s worse than having some property destroyed?
Living in fear.
Knowing that the day you take an Uber could be the last day your family will see you alive. Living on defense mode because you’re living in a world where being a woman automatically means you have to work harder even if you’re more qualified. Asking for justice and not getting anything in return. Having a daughter, mother, sister, or friend killed just because they’re women. Feeling guilty if you get drunk and someone rapes you. Not being able to feel safe in your own home because the man you live with is violent. Thinking that you’re leaving this world to the women that are coming next.
And if you still think that this is not the way to bring justice to women then go and learn about all those other things that feminist groups also do and that aren’t as visible as painting walls.
But don’t hide your misogyny behind a wall that is worthless for you.
And to end:
“I am angry. We should all be angry. Anger has a long history of bringing about positive change.”Chimamanda Ngozi
If you’re not angry about this, ask yourself why.