ARGENTINA: Sustaining the Sisterhood After the March

We march and we are millions—and then what?

On January 21, I joined the global Women’s March in spirit from Patagonia, Argentina. Through Twitter, I marched virtually in solidarity with the physical marches that were held all over the world.

We were all united under the same sky with the same belief that we are equal and deserve parity and respect. There was no fear in our steps. There was no violence in our actions. I witnessed strength, bravery, and thousands of voices ready to speak up.

On that day, we stood as one. But there is an old idiom that says, “God is in the details.”

I've been an activist for equality since I can remember and every victory I have celebrated has been brief and bittersweet—a small step that can always be taken back.

Six days after the march I found out that a 28-year-old woman had died in my hometown. Her husband had beaten her to death. Our society’s viciousness and deep disdain for a woman’s life remained intact. Just last year, we had marched for another woman whose husband murdered her.

The same question arose, then and now: We march and we are millions—and then what?

How can we educate for real change if we are not willing to contribute to change amongst ourselves on a daily basis?

Two years in a row, the #NiUnaMenos (Not One Woman Less) movement rose in my country in a massive shout to stop femicide and gender-based violence. Last year, the Ni Una Menos national march was held on the same day as National Cancer Day and women who wore black were criticized for sending a negative message on Cancer Day.

How lost are we in the cosmetics of it all to prey on one another like that? As women, we often cause our own setbacks. The hardest remarks, the deepest knowing silences, and the harshest views tend to come upon us from our sisters in the fight.

We find politicians’ outbursts outrageous, but we vote for them—when we vote at all.

We condemn batterers, yet we are willing to step aside if we know them or if they are part of our families. We also vote for batterers from time to time, even when accusations have been public.

We let boys know they can do anything and girls know they have to be careful because they are not boys.

We go to our social networks to pass judgment on women who don’t get married or have children. When a woman wears whatever she wants regardless of age or body figure, we call her crazy; when a woman dares to be go-getting or makes a sudden change in her life or career, we say she’s strayed.

As I write, it is nine days since the Women’s March. Three reporters on CNN’s Spanish network are preying on Ariel Winter’s wardrobe choice for the SAG Awards. I can hear a woman saying, scornfully, “It is not right for her body.”

Why do we do this? The segment is supposed to be funny and entertaining, but all I see on my screen is a young girl who works as an actress wearing a great gown. She owns it. Yet her detractors act as if they own her, her body, her choices, and her public image. The network endorses the abuse. I don’t hear any voices from the audience speaking up in opposition.

All of these things are not because of any new president. We need to hold ourselves accountable.

Change is not a guarantee. When we march, we take the first steps in our fight for equity. But we need to keep taking steps forward. We must challenge ourselves to take small actions each day and make our vision a reality.


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Comments

Thank you for your support, Queen. I totally agree with your remark! Union is victory!

@SanPatagonia

Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

Your words are felt in my solar plexus.. I like to think.... WANT to think that women don't do that judgement thing to other women because of how they look, how attractive they are , what they wear. 

Today I was at a show with lots of different people attending and a young woman caught my eye. She had the the most interesting hair. All slim long, really long - down to her buttocks-  dreadlocks with many items interwoven in it. .. wooden circles, colored thread, beads. All kinds of things. What was she saying about herself? What did others say about her? Clearly it was unusual. I thought it was joyful. And I enjoyed watching her and the guy with the feed store cap and the couple with matching Green Bay Packers ( football team) sweatshirts. Aren't humans just amazing? 

The world will always watch people. But we don't have to judge them. I am trying. Thank you San Patagonia for reminding me again. 

Carol Sunborn

Dear Carol... I could really see the whole scene. "What was she saying about herself?"... right, that's the whole key. Seeing the message we all carry around, and learn from it and -why not- enjoy it! Thank you so much for this vision and the powerful message intertwined in it. 

@SanPatagonia

Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

Your words have been heard and are shared by many... the questions of 'how to sustain' a steady inward and outer support that say, "Enough!, this is where violence ends!"   Woman are challenged with the load of caring for this world... men do not bring life and few of them are engaged in sustaining life.  The women are those that bring and sustain life and therefore, we must lift this voice as if life depended upon it.

In love and service to life and all that brings life,

Lana Holmes

http://www.lanaholmes.com/

https://www.worldpulse.com/fr/about-us/board#BOD

Hi Lana! Good point, that "how to" behind the action... This past weekend there has been a very public case in my province, involving a woman mayor and a state congressman and used as part of a political campaign. After 3-4 days, just today their voices were public. Both of them said he yelled at her, and no physical violence was involved.

More and more often, I think it's a matter of equality here too. Violence is a language, in society nowadays and not just men-to-women. And there's always an element of control in that language, no matter what gender we may be. I've been thinking these days if we haven't missed the whole point. So when I read your "Enough!, this is where violence ends!", I thought may be it could be a deeper change if we don't draw the line just for one gender but for all... wouldn't it be broader and truly transforming that way? Just thinking in new directions... thank you for your comment that helped me to keep on doing that.

@SanPatagonia

Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

This is such a beautifully written piece on why we as women need to support each other, not fall into the trap of criticizing. You bring us to the heart of the matter: too many women continue to die, killed by men taught that they have the right to control. A critically serious backdrop to the mean-spirited put downs that come all too often from other women. I believe that jealousy too often comes into play, along with deeply embedded training that we are safer and gain status if we show disdain for or opposition to our sisters. You are so right. This must be addressed for what it is, and for the destruction it causes. Holding ourselves accountable will create such a boost to the important and courageous steps we take individually and collectively.

With love in sisterhood,

Tam

"A critically serious backdrop to the mean-spirited put downs that come all too often from other women." ...this line really got me :)

Thank you Tam for this beautiful response. 

Thanks for this words, Tam... so right about jealousy coming into play, and also the destruction it causes when put into words and actions. I truly believe we must support each other, but also educate about control leaving gender-biased visions aside. Control -as violence- comes into form from all around us, men and women. As I mentioned when replying Lana's comment before, these days I'm trying to find a new way of approaching to this trap. As you say, too many women continue to die. I feel maybe it's time to re-think some of those views.

@SanPatagonia

Be a voice, tell a story, start the fire. | Sé una voz, cuenta una historia, enciende el fuego.

San, you said it all without mincing words! I think women should be united ,strong and focused to end gender based violence. Again women who criticize other women's fashion  sense should know that different colours  make the rainbow,we can never be the same.

Dear SanPatagonia,

In Africa/East Africa, we call it the PHD - Pull Her Down syndrome, we shouldn't be our own undoing I agree. In a way it is a mirror of what society is. It has even managed to mess up with our minds that we have succumbed to the pressure. For as long as we are aware of the effects it has on us and accept to be change agents of this unpleasant situation - then we are on the right track.  Thanks for sharing your deeds!

LVB

Dear SanPatagonia,

I love this! Thank you for sharing.

Women really need to speak out when something is not right regardless of who is involved.

Nice one sister!

 

I marched here in Washington, D.C. On the same day.  It was empowering and made me feel strong. And a kinship with women all over the world. 

Hi SanPatagonia 

this part of your text: "We let boys know they can do anything and girls know they have to be careful because they are not boys." 

Is strong and its so true. Be teach girls to believe carefully and don't go out at night and also don't use little skirts. But what about the boys? I was in the NiUnaMenos march in Perú, and one week after that a 15 year old girl was raped by a group of 4 men just 4 blocks by her home. We need to educate all the people, and persist, and also keep our ideas of gender-equality and no-violence and talk with the new generations about this. 

Cuenta conmigo para compartir en las redes sociales tus proximas historias, la violencia en contra de las mujeres debe acabar y el trabajo conjunto y la información son pasos claves. 

Great article sister! 

Enma Marín.

Ekpapalek Mujeres Mentor

Personal Blog: //notthatpinky.blog

Facebook Page for Difusion Of Latino America´s Feminist Actions