I had never been to a true Women’s March. The women-only demonstrations I’ve participated in that have always been about “bigger” political issues, so they haven’t felt like it was about us. It’s curious how political movements usually hijack a deep rooted social issue like this one and they spin it to their agenda. But it felt different this time in Tapachula.
This time it was about all of those that weren’t walking among us because they were killed. It was about femicide. The cries of anger and grief felt true and pure. They started walking from a military headquarter and I felt my skin bristle. We walked along an avenue with posters of missing women and campaigns for alertness against human traffickers and the back of my neck felt feverish. We arrived at the mayor’s office and a woman read the names of the ones who have been murdered in the city, then they wallpapered the building with signs that read “I don’t want your catcalling” or “Why does feminism bother you more than femicides?.” Goosebumps.
For me, this is quite new. In Venezuela, where I come from, most people think that there is no misogyny and that feminists are annoying. But the facts are that there are no public numbers on femicide to be concerned of or few complaints on gender violence, and that mothers carry the economic weight and roles of sole caregivers. Unfortunately, my country ranks higher than Mexico in femicides –14 spots higher to be exact–, and women have taken control because men are absent. We don’t see machismo because we are swimming in it and the only way to address it is getting out of this pond to take a breath and see it from above.
Walking and protesting together, knowing that there’s something wrong, was, for me, extraordinary and beautiful. Conscience is the seed of change. Even though we were melting under the Tapachula heat, I was grateful for being there, participating in my own way: taking pictures of us.