In the past, and now more than ever, women have been and are in the front line when it comes to defending, protecting, and saying what is going wrong in our societies. Women have built nations from scratch in the past and are still doing it today, worldwide. Unfortunately, we often do not find any mention of those women in books, not in school and not in university and that is unfair. We (8 brave and young women from different countries: Bosnia, Colombia, Italy, Paraguay, Mexico and Morocco) decided to change that. And the smartest way is writing about those women, that from one way or the other have started a revolution!
Nowadays, we see revolution in volunteer work, we are starting revolution now writing an article, you are participating in a revolution by reading this blog. From where I come there is a phrase “When tyranny is law, revolution is order” (Don Pedro Albizu Campos). Our new revolution is educating and sharing knowledge!
Author: Ph.D. Claudia Zilli Ramírez
Born in Mexico. World Citizen.
Women are revolution – Mexican women ARE revolution
How many of you can already think up an image of the so called “Adelitas” o “Soldaderas”? Those women who had very relevant roles as fighters and commanding officers during the Mexican Revolution; a military conflict and very complex political process that lasted from 1910 to 1920, and that was aimed at bringing down the 35-year long regime of General Porfirio Díaz (to begin with) and to solve a political crisis amongst the social classes and insatiable competing elites (a political crisis that still persists –with the most diverse tonalities and connotations- even to this current day).
Even if you do not have a clear image of those revolutionary “Adelitas” in your mind, you most probably have heard about the female Mexican revolutionary, Frida Kahlo. Apart from the fascination that her mythical figure helped to create, Frida had everything but a life deprived of physical pain and emotional distress. Her physical injuries, together with a very stormy relationship with her husband Diego Rivera, made of Frida Kahlo, herself, a genuine apology of one of the most cursed but truest love stories. What is more important, nevertheless, is that Frida revolutionized the world of female art and sexuality. Through her paintings she was able to overcome any kind of physical and emotional borders, and was able to express the deepest and most painful sentiments that women have continuously experienced in the most diverse of ways. Without specifically aiming to do so, Frida was able to captivate several important artists and political personalities of her time, as well as public audiences (Mexico City and Paris before her death, and the world afterwards); becoming not only one of Mexico’s greatest artists but also a world icon of feminism.
When talking about these revolutionary women, we cannot allow ourselves to forget about “the other side of the coin”. Mexico (just as any other country around the world, and most particularly in Latin America) is a complex mosaic with plenty of clashes and contradictions; and just as it cradles some of the most highly spirited revolutionary women in the entire continent, it does regrettably cradle also one of the worst records of violence, in many different forms, against women resulting often in feminicides.
These represent concrete expressions of several socioeconomic structural problems that go from extended poverty, lack of education and opportunities for millions of people, to the persistence of a mostly inefficient judicial system, amongst other serious issues. Expressions also, and maybe even most importantly, of a deeply rooted culture of abusive male empowerment and domination, colloquially known as “Machismo” or “Macho culture”.
This wave of violence has lasted for many decades and has even intensified, resulting more recently in a horrifying statistic that six Mexican women are murdered every single day; and around 3,900 Mexican women were murdered between the years of 2011 and 2013, alone. These numbers do not include all those women who have “disappeared”, been raped or “simply” beaten. You can start to appreciate the real magnitude of this social phenomenon when you read that, according to the United Nations, Mexico has painfully been “awarded” 16th place in the list of countries with the highest number of feminicides, around the world.
At this point you may ask, what is the relation between the Mexican revolutionary women as described at the beginning and the current situation that I have just briefly written about? Well, the relation is that the most important goals that the actions of those women so many years ago set out to achieve, and that were then taken forward by so many others (thus improving life conditions and recognizing human rights for all Mexican women), are still unfinished but very much latent.
It is because of this that nowadays there are not only famous or iconic revolutionary women working on this whole process of female empowerment, but nowadays there are also “ordinary”, day-to-day, women who have decided to openly confront violence and “machismo” in a significant way and to say that “Enough is Enough”(#Basta) or “Don’t stay quiet” (#NoTeCalles).
A clear example of this process of raising awareness by means of a powerful movement of collective action was the last mass manifestation of Mexican women against violence and sexual harassment that took place on April 24th(#24A); and that brought together thousands of women in Mexico City and still many more in 40 other cities across 27 states. With the motto (and the hashtag in social media) “#Vivas nosqueremos” or “#We want us alive”, women defended their inalienable right to have a life free of violence, a safe place to live in which they can dream and progress in every walk of life.
Thus, in what they have called the “Violet Spring” movement, many more organizations, comprised of artists, writers, teachers, students, housewives, employees, and the most diverse of female profiles, have joined together and have spread the whole movement around the country and even beyond international borders.
Mexico, with its very complex social, economic and political context, has one of the harshest environments for women in which to live and to grow; however, those same harsh conditions have strengthened the female spirit that also resides within the country. A warrior female spirit that has been present for many centuries; but that has transmuted, strengthened and spread, resulting nowadays in a burning force that shall never be stopped.
Indeed, Mexican women ARE revolution.