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After all the controversy of the presidential debate in Spain, men are not entirely able to talk about women's issues
Last Monday, April 22, social networks in Spain exploded after a particular scene which occurred moments before the start of the presidential debate. On the screen there were two women who were responsible for cleaning the set and thanks to this criticism was not expected, focusing on the inequality that is still lived despite the movement of female vindication.
Leer en español: Cuando los hombres hablan por las mujeres
Aun no ha empezado el debate y la primera en la frente: tanto empoderamiento de la mujer y tanto feministo y ahi estan dos señoras de la limpieza con las mopas sacando brillo al plató. #DebateRTVE #ElDebate pic.twitter.com/UgrIBQ0LOO— Chus* (@Chusbrave) 22 de abril de 2019
The fact that the four presidential candidates were men and were willing to touch on women's issues did not help the fury on social networks either. And it is not about preventing them from touching the topics, of course, they can be addressed, and even more when taking into account the ones that were discussed, such as consent in sexual relationships, surrogacy, gender violence, among others. All this in the middle of a context where feminist movements are taking more and more strength.
However, the problem lies in how they appropriate that information and how it can be harmful or important to women. When men touch on issues specifically related to women's social well-being, their discourses run the risk of becoming paternalistic or even of being reinterpreted from their point of view, making that feminine struggle discourse change and be misinterpreted.
An example comes to mind in the face of the above, based on the popular adult series Bojack Horseman, where, to discuss the issue of abortion, after a popular superstar performed it, they summon "a diverse group of white men who use bow ties "to talk about the subject. In him, clearly, none of the three have any idea of what he is talking about and only take refuge under his misinterpretation of the speech, all in a scene that adorned with satire and black humor proves my point.
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The Spanish situation is a curious case, because, through campaigns, feminism and the struggle for equality has gained an important place in the political discourse. However, it seems that what is said is different from what is done. Of the five parties that are in the struggle for the presidency, three are led by men (VOX, Ciudadanos and Podemos); and although the others also (PSOE and the Popular Party), at least in the votes to elect the candidate for the party, there were female candidates. But, the problem is that the positions we are left with are usually the second in command.
The lack of female representation in maximum positions of political responsibility, as Elke Ferner, director of the Parity in Parliaments and Politics commission, makes the true struggle for women's rights lose its meaning. The solution to this debate for men to talk about women's issues, is simply to allow greater participation of women in higher positions, so that from there begin to make a real change.
As Ferner mentioned in an interview for DW, when the announcement of the relief of Merkel, who left the presidency of his party, and announced that it was again in the hands of a woman (Annegret Kramp-Karrenbaue), several people were surprised. But, why were not you surprised when a male leader passed the power to another man? Normalize women within positions not only political but higher economic. With this, we will not only be advocating the struggle of female vindication, but we will be breaking many glass ceilings.
LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz
Translated from "Cuando los hombres hablan por las mujeres"