In the last few years, the worst form of violence against women, femicide, has become more visible and tangible than ever in the River Plate area. The dozens of women who were murdered over the last few months have topped headlines in Argentine media and awoken public indignation, especially among the middle class.
— Rosario Medina Gómez (@RosarioMedinaG) May 27, 2015
#NiUnaMenos. Uploading this as your profile pic so it may be seen, with a prayer, motivating politics and actions, let's support the campaign.
Thanks to their efforts, the demand for an end to femicide and violence against women has earned increased attention. On occasion, digital and street protests joined forces, materializing in a march on June 3.
— Liniers (@porliniers) June 4, 2015
What a nice picture of yesterday's march. Thank you @famarelli!
The march, under the hashtag #NiUnaMenos, brought men and women together from all around the country and of diverse political beliefs. An admirable feat, given that the country is highly polarized politically speaking:
Hay banderas de La Cámpora, Kolina, MST, Las Rojas, PO, vi a radicales y gente del PRO. Todo se vive con normalidad #NiUnaMenos
— MPL (@mparadalopez) June 3, 2015
There are flags from La Cámpora, Kolina, MST, Las Rojas, PO. I saw radicals and people from PRO. Everyone is getting along normally.
Leftist, conservatives, and moderates also jumped on board:
— InfoPlatense (@InfoPlatensetw) June 4, 2015
Representatives of #FAP, #MST, and #PatriaGrande joined the movement #NiUnaMenos in #LaPlata
— InfoPlatense (@InfoPlatensetw) June 4, 2015
Representatives from #PRO and #UCR joined the movement #NiUnaMenos in #LaPlata
In addition, the march received support and participation from male demonstrators and organizations who made it clear that violence against women is not solely a woman's problem:
Que tal ese colectivo de varones antipatriarcales: “Los Traidores de Papá”, buenísimo el nombre pic.twitter.com/HCLgCid0Va
— lncognito (@lncognito) June 4, 2015
How about this male, anti-patriarchal group: “The Dad Traitors”, great name.
Nevertheless, some of the more conservative sectors of Argentinian society preferred to remain on the fringes of the march, refusing to protest side-by-side with associations that also made the call for decriminalization of abortion:
A no sorprenderse si hoy en la marcha de #NiUnaMenos observan peticiones en favor del genocidio contra los niños por nacer.
— Agustín Laje (@AgustinLaje) June 3, 2015
Don't be surprised if you see petitions in favor of genocide against unborn children at the #NiUnaMenos march.
Furthermore, many refused to admit that the violence in Argentina is gender-specific; that is, they did not want to limit themselves by solely protesting against the violence against women. Therefore, they replaced the hashtag #NiUnaMenos with #NiUnaPersonaMenos (Not A Person Less), emphasizing the country's insecurity.
— Barby. (@baarbyvargas) June 3, 2015
Not women, men, or children; we're all afraid to leave our houses. Let's put a stop to this.
“Stop the violence against
President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the political figure responsible for polarizing the nation — unleashing both love and hate — expressed her support for the outcry and, at the same time, denounced the objectification of women in Argentine media:
La mujer convertida en objeto: Y si entonces es sólo una cosa, siempre habrá alguno que piense que puede romperla si no la tiene.
— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) June 3, 2015
Women turned into an object: And so, if she's only a thing, there will always be someone who thinks he can break her if he doesn't have her.
On social media during the last few weeks, users discussed the concept of gender violence and the limitations of the debate regarding the visibility of the recent femicides:
— Patria Al Hombro (@PatriaAlHombroO) May 28, 2015
Report any form of #violence. Every police officer, from any station, is obliged to take it.
“Types of Violence Against Women” (from left to right): psychological, physical, patrimonial, inequality and discrimination, sexual, economic. “All violence is serious and hurts just the same”
— Debb® (@debbiereynaud) June 3, 2015
If he controls you, if he manipulates you, if he yells at you, if he orders you around, if he hits you IT IS NOT LOVE – IT IS #VIOLENCIA [Violence]. REPORT HIM!!
“If he controls you, it's not love, it's violence”
In the same fashion, some pointed out that the daily words and actions, even of some of the movement's defenders, continue to reproduce misogynistic social structures:
Lo que digo es excatamente esto. El doble discurso tambien es violencia. pic.twitter.com/ruNtmEUSoN
— #NiUnaMenos Maru (@marulopesMST) June 4, 2015
This is exactly what I'm saying. Double standards are also violence.
— ❤Andrea♬ (@SweetVeiosi) June 3, 2015
#NiUnaMenos #BastaDeFemicidios (No More Femicides) Double standards are also violence. This is everybody's commitment. Today at 5 PM.
Translation from right to left:
In order to say “not one less”, we have to stop raising defenseless princesses and violent, macho young boys.
In order to say “not one less”, we have to stop going out for prostitutes, which fuels human trafficking.
In order to say “not one less”, we have to exercise the responsibility of fatherhood.
In order to say “not one less”, we have to stop asking how short Melina's skirt was. [Melina is one of Argentina's femicide victims.]
There were even comic strips that reflected the irony of some of the participants’ paradoxical behavior, who are victims of more subtle types of gender violence:
Basado en hechos reales! pic.twitter.com/FA9Uv2trEb
— Decur (@DecurG) June 4, 2015
Based on true events!
1. I went to the march with Viki against femicide in my city.
2. Then, a couple of women started to talk behind us.
3. “All right, I'm leaving. My husband doesn't know I'm here.”
Others were more critical in that regard and called out the hypocrisy of a few media outlets and political figures, who are currently boasting of their fight against gender violence and of their public support for the campaign. However, they have also recently been active in the aggression and objectification of women. Individuals who have justified certain forms of violence, along with those who have not invested enough in programs set out to combat this tragedy, were equally criticized:
— Blue (@achumontoya) June 1, 2015
[Argentinean TV personality] Tinelli joins #NiUnaMenos #Hipocresía [hypocrisy]
— Barbe Roch (@barbe_roch) June 3, 2015
The two women who are here were BEATEN by their significant others #Hipocresía [hypocrisy]. These guys are an EMBARRASSMENT #NiUnaMenos.
Translation from left to right:
Days before: These violent guys are reciprocated by women who play at that.
Broads are born, they know that if they spread their legs, they can get certain things.
What did you do for him to hit you?
Did you do something so that he'd hit you?
When did they start to change? #NiUnaMenos?
— 1000 Caracteres (@1000_Caracteres) June 3, 2015
[Politician Mauricio] Macri closed the program for victims of sexual violence and poses with a sign #NiUnaMenos.
Despite the varying degrees of outcry and the differences that exist between them, including the irreconcilable ideologies of different political groups, for the first time in many years, gender violence has become the hot topic of Argentina's political, media, and social agenda.
Might this be a reason for hope for those who would like to see this campaign go beyond being just a temporary social catharsis?
For the moment, it does seem that something is starting to change. The attitude towards verbal violence and street harassment in the form of “cat calling” is being questioned. At least that is how it appears in a Twitter contribution by La Gente Anda Diciendo (What People Are Saying), a popular, online Argentine initiative with the purpose of gathering street conversations that users hear while out on the street:
“Ahora veo una mina y no me animo a decirle nada.” Hombre de 40 años a otro viendo una joven pasar. 10.36 a.m., Recoleta. @gentediciendo
— Sofia Gonzalez (@sofi_gonzalezs) June 4, 2015
“Now I see a broad and I'm not up to saying anything to her.” 40.year.old man says to another while looking at a young woman walk by.