By: Gabriel Guerra Castellanos.
This March 8 was intense, deep, emotional, difficult. Women dominated the scene, if only for a day, and that abrupt shift in the media center of gravity was enough to leave many men dizzy, confused, irritated. Outraged.
Yes, you read that right: irritated. Upset because for a whole day they were exposed to countless testimonies of what women have to endure every day. They had to read/hear about the more than 10 women who are murdered in Mexico daily. About labor and income inequality, which has been accentuated during the pandemic. Of the many acts of gender violence that do not end in death, but in permanent physical or psychological damage to the victims. About rapists and serial stalkers who occupy prominent places in politics, in business, in the media.
Angry men because for a day they saw how streets and avenues changed their names, in an attempt to reverse, for a few hours, the inequality that prevails even in the nomenclature of our cities. Annoyed by how purple and green they painted the city, to see their mothers, wives, daughters, friends, colleagues wearing them proudly. Incredulous before the human rivers, the multiple expressions of rage, anger, frustration and impotence, before the way in which, even if it was only for one day, the social networks, the news, the media spaces, were dominated by and dedicated to women.
The instinctive reaction of those who do not understand is anger, and this is expressed more easily and quickly through indignation, whether real or feigned. This is how many of the criticisms and disqualifications towards what women express focus on the forms and modes of protest. What need to be violent? They ask those who have been victims of violence. Why deface and damage monuments? They question those who have seen their mutilated bodies. What do they not see that this is how they detract from their cause? They say to those who have always been relegated to the interior spaces of the newspapers, to the minor segments of radio and television. Who manipulates them, who directs them?
Many questions, many questions, but with the wrong addressee. Very few men wondered why this pent-up rage didn't break out before, why if it was "so violent" the balance was -luckily- white. Nor did they ask the women how many times in their lives they have been exposed to discriminatory practices, to their opportunities being conditioned, to acts of violence and intimidation, to the impunity of their aggressors, to the minimization of crimes or offenses.
That lack of masculine curiosity speaks of guilty consciences: of knowing that what they excuse in others is part of an unwritten or verbalized pact, which becomes an agreement of complicity, of silence, of facilitators.
The patriarchal pact exists: crude and obvious, although the frequency and daily nature of the acts that compose it make them invisible by force of habit.
The system is rotten. It is unacceptable. It has to change: and it will only do so if the denunciations have weight and consequences, if the protective mantle is used to shelter the victims and not the perpetrators, if we understand that the acts of violent groups do not remove the fact that the substance of the matter is the that should shock us, and not "the forms" that for some are so important.
Women are doing what is right, what is necessary. Men have to listen and understand.