Almost two years ago in August 2017 I wrote an article that I titled “Antifeminism”. It was triggered by a case that, as far as I know, caused the cup of the cause to overflow. A candidate of the Frente Amplio Party confronted a contender for having treated her badly, which was “more” serious considering her condition as a woman. Columnists in those days declared that they had seen the oppressed woman throughout history, the potential victim who was fed up of abuses and patriarchal inequality. They had discovered the sense of history through the point of view of the feminist: every man is a potential violator, “macho kills”, in their lives they have always had to prove to be more than “ass and boobs”. No, this wasn’t my story; the world might be full of idiots but it’s more than that. You only have to look at President Bachelet, who was cut to pieces daily, for this complaint to appear unpresentable. Perhaps the first misunderstanding appears here: the fact that I didn’t refer to the contender, I was supposedly a defender of the “aggressor”. It wasn’t the subject. I said that women are much more than victims (I hadn’t read Camille Paglia); fed up with police feminism, instead believed in a new humanism. It ended with a quote from Natalia Ginzburg: at 61 in 1977, she felt old and lost before the burdens of feminism. Adrienne Rich writes about the feminine supremacy to come: new women, strong, free, brave and finally endowed with the lavishing gifts of their own vital energies. “We don’t see men, there is no new image of men. Or better said, we see men wondering like pallid forms, lacking any attractive, prestige or mystery: off forms, spectres and shadows, consenting, inconsistent or useless”.
Towards the end of October of that year the #MeToo wave appeared and, being dishevelled I questioned the accusation of an author that recently, as editor, I had published. His friend said on Facebook that two years prior he had raped her while she slept after a day of partying. She appealed directly to the fame of the poet and the responsibility of his editors: how could they publish him now? I jumped: I said that the accusation and the immediate attack were unjust, because they involved something serious, rape, that should be dealt with before the law.
Quickly people collaborated: yes, he is violent, a rapist, a monster. But he wasn’t, although he was a drunk, an insufferable character with problems. It’s one thing to wonder around at night drinking and another to be a perverse psychopath ambushing sleeping women. I said that he was treated like a full-time violator, a Harvey Weinestein (film producer that exhorted Hollywood actresses): the phrase became the title of a fanzine that reported, three months later, Facebook comments of supposed “rapist defenders”, traitors, etcetera, everyone who had relativized the accusation, that had not supported victims in good faith. Man is the wolf of man.
Of course there was no mercy, no right to reply. I couldn’t believe the level of violence, just as my counterparts couldn’t see me as anything but the worst bitch with no compassion or solidarity with the victim.
I wasn’t aware that in social networks you can’t doubt (I later found out that the opposite is true in Sweden: they are careful not to make accusations on social networks). The author was quickly shunned from the editorial world. I didn’t back down, I defended the assumption of innocence. They called me a “selfish shit”; the antifeminism of the column became “profound machism”. A journalist put my name on a list of “babes of patriarchy”, for apparently assuming that “my friend couldn’t be an abuser”, and apparently saying “my work was more important than the suffering of another woman”, “if the men that hold my status fall, I fall with them”. I don’t know what I was thinking. I know of feminists that commented that “I got to where I am” (a privileged place, which makes me laugh: I hold four jobs, as my mother did in the 80’s) “because of the men that I’ve slept with” (I’ve had some well-known boyfriends).
I was born two weeks after the coup and for me the 80’s were not a series but a long film of sad and macabre rubble. I was young in the 90’s, now reviled by dealers, addicts and irresponsible people. I never thought I’d be nostalgic nostalgia for ‘94, ‘96, when things were commented at university or over the phone. The bad guy was Mamo and the front liners’ successive escape from prison. Structural violence was more evident, the possibility of justice for the first time; many had worked for it to be like this, with care and guts: it was done “as far as possible”, but Pinochet was the head of the army (the most sinister and desolate image was when he assumed the post of senator). We watched Gato por liebre and El factor humano on TV, that ridiculed speeches at a time when words were not stories. Now with these infamous networks, with post-reality and the re-edits of Steve Bannon, violence is much more disseminated, truth and fiction are tangled, anyone can be the criminal or the victim, lawyer, judge, or executioner. Pinochet is calmly claimed, etc. No, I don’t want more enemies.
“I was born two weeks after the coup and for me the 80’s were not a series but a long film of sad and macabre rubble. I was young in the 90’s, now reviled by dealers, addicts and irresponsible people. I never thought I’d be nostalgic nostalgia for ‘94, ‘96, when things were commented at university or over the phone. The bad guy was Mamo and the front liners’ successive escape from prison”.
In the 90’s there were more possibilities of expression and they seemed very serious because they gave freedom of guidelines. If you wrote a feature you investigated as much as possible -without Google-, you could approach any theory or idea without assuming, we were free because they had imposed only one thing and we didn’t want any of it. Skeptism in the face of any power was total, whatever the ideology, whatever the institution, although we wanted republican institutions (even today), no more false laws. Civil disobedience was violence, at times, legitimate, but we wanted a new civility, not the same challenges, in death, in that detritus. No more enemies.
“Now with these infamous networks, with post-reality and the re-edits of Steve Bannon, violence is much more disseminated, truth and fiction are tangled, anyone can be the criminal or the victim, lawyer, judge, or executioner”.
I’ve seen that in the new feminism, the university protests declare “either with us or against us”. Two students accuse a professor for giving them “the look”. A man is assumed to be the enemy, or suspicious, unless he’s “new”. Know that abuse has always been flogged, women have done it and we’ll continue to do it. But justice does not depend on protocols and rules: it is a solid political agreement that affects the ultimate consequences. In Euripides’ The Suppliants: where are the bodies? They don’t take vengeance into their own hands, rather they demand what is theirs, as it is unacceptable that they take away the corpses of their dead. It is the women, the mothers, Gladys Marín.
They tell me that this aggressive and specific radicalism will fade, that what’s important is to be part of the great feminine revolution. I think that women for a long time have been historical subjects and that feminism has been evident for over 100 years. Women have many rights because of that, and we lead in fields of culture, knowledge, power, and now without the terrible subjugations from before (although they keep killing us and we earn less: we continue). It’s not Marianne of the French Revolution any more – students with their tits out and Pussy Riot’s knitted hood on-, a uniformed mass in one image, but rather singular women that fight every day.
“Feminism is not an ideology, it’s not an opposition or an amalgam, it’s the way in which women live”.
Rafael Gumucio, the unsettled debater, was condemned for saying that his students don’t know real feminine suffering: to be a poor mother. First talk about them. Well, they’re his grandmothers. But he’s right: that’s the first problem. The deaths, the terrible crimes. We can fight with everything for a cultural change, but let’s not chase a wolf in order to satiate private revenge. A rule won’t change a culture, punishment doesn’t extinguish the error.
Men have strength, yes, you have to live with it. And they, as we know, are also pushed and mistreated. Children, homosexuals, trans, the disabled, poor and crazy.
Feminism is not an ideology, it’s not an opposition or an amalgam, it’s the way in which women live. It isn’t even an idea. Cioran (of FB): “In itself, every idea is neutral or should be; but man animates it, projects on it his flames and dementias; impure, transformed into belief, inserts it into time, adopts a figure of success: the path from logic to epilepsy is consummated… This is how ideologies, doctrines and bloody farces are born”.
I read about paranoia and melancholy, two opposing forms of psychosis: in paranoia the threat is elsewhere, whereas in melancholy the guilt is within. We live in paranoid times, with many enemies. I tend towards melancholy: the greatest crime is to have been born, abandon all hope, then the sun shines, we meet, we talk for a moment and there are no enemies, looking into each other’s eyes.