On March 8 I was able to partake in an international experience that not only fortalicized my sense of solidarity with women and feminine-identifying people all around the world, but also widened my view of feminism and how it functions in other countries. As I am sure everyone knows, March 8 was International Women’s Day and also “A Day Without a Woman.” However, I am not sure that everyone is aware that the strike was accompanied by marches, rallies, and other strikes by women around the world, including several countries in South America such as Uruguay, Chile, and of course, Argentina, with a quite large demonstration happening in Buenos Aires, and coincidentally a few blocks down from my university. It was only fate that I’d happen upon the march in order to walk in solidarity with women in Argentina, back home, and around the world.
In the United States, I consider myself a feminist and well read in systemic misogyny. From rape culture and masculine fragility to the erasure of black and POC women, I am always trying to continually educate myself and learn new perspectives on sexism along with its intersection with other systems of oppression such as racism, homophobia, classism, etc. The journey of being a feminist never stops; there are always new perspectives to learn and more progress to be made.
However, I have a very narrow view of misogyny and sexism-- an American view. Misogyny exists internationally, but there are some forms of misogyny that seem to be a larger problem in the United States, and then of course there many systematic oppressions that do not occur in the United States. I had read about misogyny and the machismo culture in Argentina prior to my arrival, but nothing so perfectly juxtaposed our culture’s sexism to that of Argentina.
First of all, there are many similarities between the two country and its systematic treatment of women. At the march, I saw many signs that addressed rape culture and victim blaming; asserting that a woman should be able to wear whatever she wants at night and still be safe. Slogans that were exact translations of the same signs we would see at the “A Day Without a Woman” marches back in the U.S. Similarly, there were also banners addressing transphobia, violence against lesbians, and domestic violence which were also things I would have seen back home.
The differences, however, were more striking. The sign that has continued to stick with me read: “Disculpen las molestias, pero nos están asesinando” (sorry for the inconvenience, but they’re murdering us). Another slogan that was widespread and equally as saddening at the march was “#NiUnaMenos” or “not one (woman) less.” For those who do not know, Argentina has a large problem with femicide, or widespread murder or genocide of women based solely on their gender, something that’s not an epidemic in the United States.
This is not the first time that women in Argentina have marched together. #NiUnaMenos began on June 3, 2015 with Argentina’s first march against gender violence, a response to the hundreds of cases of gender violence occurring in the country including “honor killings,” domestic violence and sexual assault. In 2015, La Casa del Encuentro estimated based on media reports that a woman was killed every 30 hours, a underestimation due to the lack of official reporting on femicide. Consequent legislation on femicide followed the protest, yet the epidemic continues. On October 19, 2016 another march was organized in response to the brutal abduction, torture, rape, and consequent cardiac arrest and death of 16 year old Lucía Pérez. The protest was marked by the hashtag: #MiércolesNegro. The march included a “paro de mujeres” or women’s strike as well, just like the recent march on the 8th.
While in America we may suffer from toxic masculinity and masculine fragility, nothing compares to the violent machismo witnessed in Argentina and across Latin America. It is not to say that one oppression is more important or worse than the others; I am not trying to promote the idea of “oppression olympics” among women or any other marginalized groups. Going to this march and researching more the widespread femicide in Argentina only reminded me what solidarity truly encompasses, especially in feminism. We need to support each other, all marginalized groups, women (both POC and white), feminine identifying folk, queer people, trans people, those with disabilities, all of us. And we need to reach out and educate ourselves more on the issues that affect us around the world, not just in the United States and certainly not just what’s being broadcasted on our country’s world news. I am not saying it is easy, and I am certainly not even sure of a solution for how we can effectively stand in solidarity with each other. But I do think that it is important to find ways to educate ourselves on how women and people are treated around the world, and maybe find ways on how we can effectively stand with them, even thousands of miles away.
For more information on the #NiUnaMenos movement, check out their website: http://niunamenos.com.ar/.
Goñi, Uki. "Argentina: hundreds of thousands of women set to protest against violence." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 19 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2017. <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/19/argentina-women-strike-violence-protest>.
"How Argentina rose up against the murder of women." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 08 June 2015. Web. 15 Mar. 2017. <https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jun/08/argentina-murder-women-gender-violence-protest>.
"La violencia de género, en números." La Nación. SA La Nación, 19 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2017. <http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1948389-la-violencia-de-genero-en-numeros>.
"The Guardian view on #NiUnaMenos: challenging misogyny and murder." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 19 Oct. 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2017. <https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/19/the-guardian-view-on-niunamenos-challenging-misogyny-and>.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Amanda Landaverde is a 20 year-old Spanish and Psychology student at Gustavus Adolphus College who aims for a career in neuroscience studying generational trauma. In her free time, Amanda likes to creatively illuminate and counteract social injustice through art, writing, and performance with her social justice theatre troupe on campus.</p>