México City (March 8, 2021).- His words reveal the frustration and resistance to a pandemic that interrupted the conversation about violence against women, placed at the center of the national discussion when, like a giant purple wave, thousands took the streets on March 8, 2020.
After almost 30 years since the registration of the first femicides in Ciudad Juárez and a struggle on different fronts, the seriousness of living in a culture of rape and death for women was finally recognized when the health emergency began.
Despite Covid-19, feminists have remained vigilant and active. They have come out to protest against violence, intervened in the streets, monuments and government institutions. The takeover of the CNDH was a milestone, something that no one expected. The protests against violence against women have continued in the periphery of CDMX and in the states, although they have been repressed with bullets as happened in Cancun.
That historic mobilization of 8M, International Women’s Day, touched the consciences of many women, so much so that collectives and groups emerged in municipalities where there were none before.
“It is a movement that is alive and that the pandemic has not stopped it, it has simply given it new forms,” says Amneris Chaparro, a researcher at the UNAM’s Center for Gender Research and Studies (CIEG). If you imagined that the pandemic would mean a setback for contemporary Mexican feminism, on the contrary, you have turned it around again.
At the beginning of the pandemic, on an image of 8M, they raised firmly: “The feminists did not leave.” The singer-songwriter Vivir Quintana, whose “Song without fear” became an anthem in the protests, looks at the movement alive. “The momentum continues, what happens is that since this struggle is not being waged on the streets now, it is believed that the movement is stopped or dissolved,” he explains.
The contemporary Mexican feminist movement first took the streets by surprise and then social networks, confirms Amneris Chaparro. Both are highly “masculinized” spaces that impose rules and restrictions on women. Despite Covid-19, feminists have remained vigilant and active. They have come out to protest against violence, intervened in the streets, monuments and government institutions.
Despite the cyber violence against them, feminist voices have been installed on the networks, armed revolutions with hashtags and public denunciations. They deliver their messages directly, without the need for intermediaries. As in the streets, they also leave their mark there. A way to appropriate the digital space.
At the forefront of the feminist struggle, there is a young generation of women, many of them university students, who also come from very precarious places, notes Amneris Chaparro.
“In countries like ours, in Latin America, we find a buoyant, creative feminism that is in the streets, a feminism that is angry with just cause for so much violence against women, and also women are the protagonists of this violence, it can be at home, on the streets, in universities.
“And that is what gives a very important connotation to Latin American feminism and in particular Mexican feminism, which are the conditions of economic precariousness, of violence at different levels, which make feminism alive,” says Chaparro, doomed to gender and feminist studies.
Las Brujas del Mar, the abolitionist feminist collective from Veracruz, promoter of the 9M National Strike “A day without us”, declares itself in resistance. In these months of confinement, the defenders of human rights, feminists and activists have tried to obtain new tools of articulation from the digital space, says their spokeswoman Arussi Unda.
Feminists continue to work, but many times their demands continue to fall on deaf ears. “This government has never recognized the seriousness of violence against women,” says artist Lorena Wolffer. “He does not seem to have any interest in dialoguing with us, or recognizing what is happening to us.”
Governments often don’t know what to do with feminists. Right and left governments find it problematic. A stone in the shoe since the 18th century. “Feminism has always been an uncomfortable movement and continues to disturb,” says Amneris Chaparro.