Sorry humans, but living in Guatemala for the last two months has turned me into a raging feminist again. It gives me the desire to learn Spanish so I can write zines and verbally eviscerate the all too common sexual predator. Luckily for me, there are already self-identified feministas here and I came across a publication called laCuerda which I can understand a lot of, but unfortunately not all of, but alas is in the position of debunking commonly held notions such as AlkaSeltzer causing miscarriages.
I see so many people balk at the term “feminist” and what connotation it holds. But then again, quibbling about theory is not my passion. Feminism isn’t misandry, and it’s unfortunate it holds that message for some people. Feminism isn’t only for privileged ”white” women and the concept is not that difficult to grasp: it’s just the theory that everyone should be treated equally in a political, economic, and social context; regardless of biological sex or gender.
I think that real change here is only going to take place once women become empowered and have equal rights. Even though it is more common to talk about Juárez when femicide is even discussed, and the numbers are hard to track, but since 2000, there have been around 5,000 murders of women in Guatemala. There has been some media about this, most notably the 2007 film Killer’s Paradise. When I was in Xela, my teacher told me that in that city that wanted to abolish the words femicide and feminicide because “murder is murder.” The problem is, it isn’t just murder. It’s also raping, mutilating, torturing and then disposing of the bodies like trash just because they are women. In the (translated) words of one my teachers:
When a man has multiple women here and one wants money to take care of their children, it’s easier for some men to kill her. And they have total impunity.
I don’t enjoy reading about it, but not reading about it doesn’t make it go away. I’m at this point in my life where I’m unsure about what to really do to change things, but keep on trying to convince myself of the importance of just witnessing of what really goes on in the world and not shutting myself down from it. It’s difficult because it’s so messed up that most people don’t even want to talk about it or think about it. There is a law in Guatemala about stricter penalties for femicide, but it is lip service because barely any crimes are prosecuted or even investigated. The U.S. Government has even gotten involved, but after their/our history in Guatemala [1:infect people with STDs] [2:involvement in civil war] [3:School of the Americas] I hardly think that’s appropriate.